First recipients of M’sia’s Covid-19 vaccine not ‘lab rats’, says Muhyiddin


PUTRAJAYA: High-risk groups such as frontliners and senior citizens, who will be among the first in the country to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, must not be considered as ‘laboratory rats’, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin said yesterday.

He said this was because the vaccine received would have undergone large-scale and safe clinical trials.

The prime minister gave the assurance that the vaccine to be used in Malaysia must meet the conditions set by the Health Ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), adding that the government will never compromise on the matter.

“The vaccination process will be done in stages by prioritising high-risk groups that are prone to Covid-19 infection before being extended to other target groups. Those who are considered high risk, among others, are frontline staff, senior citizens, patients with non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and so on.

“Therefore the frontliners and high-risk groups would not really be the first to test the vaccine, or ‘laboratory rats’, as how some are describing them. They will be getting a vaccine that has been tested and proven safe,” he said at a virtual media conference here yesterday.

The prime minister was responding to claims that the first group in the country to receive the Covid-19 vaccine such as frontliners would be regarded as experiment subjects in the process to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Citing the Covid-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical company Pfizer as an example, Muhyiddin said the vaccine had undergone phase three clinical trials, and the initial test involved 43,998 participants from various countries including the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, South Africa and Turkey.

“And if all 12 vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials are combined, a total of 500,000 participants were involved.

“After undergoing clinical trials, all data obtained will be evaluated by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA),” he said. — Bernama