Govt urged to clear the air on Sinovac efficacy
Published on: Monday, September 13, 2021
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The Sinovac vaccine being packed at the Pharmaniaga Bhd plant. Pharmaniaga said an online news report on breakthrough deaths involving Sinovac vaccines had a few ‘ analytical biases’. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: A leading pharmaceutical company which supplies the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine has called on the government to clear the air over the drug following claims linking it to breakthrough deaths.

Pharmaniaga Bhd said it was important for the authorities to provide a “solid explanation” as soon as possible to allay public fears as well as on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

“(Otherwise) it could disrupt the government’s upcoming mission to vaccinate children aged between 12 and 17,” its group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope said in a statement today.

Earlier today, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the country would be vaccinating teenagers in mid-September, involving those aged 12 to 15 who have comorbidities and those aged 16 to 17 with or without health conditions.

On Friday, Malaysiakini reported that health ministry data showed that a number of Covid-19 deaths among the fully vaccinated “were of those inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine”.

“There are 10.11 vaccine breakthrough deaths for every 100,000 people fully vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine, and 3.47 per 100,000 for Pfizer recipients,” the portal reported.

Zulkarnain, however, said the report had a few “analytical biases”.

This included that the comparison of deaths after vaccination was made with deaths in unvaccinated populations with very different health-seeking behaviours and early access to healthcare facilities.

“The status of healthy and comorbid subjects is not available to compare the meaningful incidence of death within each vaccine group,” he said.

Zulkarnain warned that speculation and misinterpretation of data would confuse the public unnecessarily, adding that clinical data was highly time dependent and required advanced statistical analysis to avoid common pitfalls such as selection, length and competing risk biases.

“The online news report clearly does not provide a clear picture of the purported data and somehow has reflected an insufficient engagement with subject-matter experts such as scientists and researchers.”

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