April 16, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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Scientific community to do more to educate public on COVID-19 vaccine


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — While Malaysia is set to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this Sunday and the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme to kick off five days later, lack of proper understanding of the vaccine still persists in Malaysian society.

Molecular virologist Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam said the testament to this were doubts on the vaccine going around on social media, including confusion over its efficacy. 

The doubts were also the result of the gap between the scientific community and the public, he said, adding that it was the responsibility of the scientific community to relay proper information on the COVID-19 vaccine in the simplest way to the public.


“We must always remember that science is always guided by experimental evidences. We must also know that vaccines have been one of the biggest achievements of modern medicine.

“We survive to this day because of vaccination and it is one of the most effective measures in controlling and preventing infectious diseases worldwide in the history of medical science,” he said on Bernama TV’s Mid Day Update today.

In the programme hosted by Jessy Chahal, Dr Vinod said the most common misunderstanding among the public was over the 95 per cent efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in clinical trials, whereby many felt it meant that the remaining 5 per cent of the vaccinated people were infected with COVID-19.

“That is actually not true. The 95 per cent efficacy actually means among those vaccinated, there is a 95 per cent chance of not getting infected with COVID-19 compared to those not vaccinated.

“In other words, vaccinated people in the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trials were 20 times less likely than in the controlled group to get infected with COVID-19…that is the most effective vaccine we have currently,” he added.