New Straits Times

‘SOP applies even if you’ve been vaccinated’


KUALA LUMPUR: All non-pharmaceut­ical interventi­ons to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will continue to be in force even for those who have been vaccinated, including the mandatory use of face masks and other standard operating procedures (SOP).

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this was based on advice from Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“It’s not that we are not confident in the vaccines, it’s that we don’t have enough data yet.

“Even if you have been vaccinated and the guy next to you has been vaccinated, wear a mask.”

He said for now, no updates would be made to the SOP for the vaccinatio­n drive, such as the limit on the number of people allowed into vaccinatio­n rooms.

On a related matter, he said pharmaceut­ical company Pfizer Malaysia would have to submit data to verify that its Covid-19 vaccines can be stored at standard freezer temperatur­es (-20°C) for two weeks.

He said the latest approval by the United States Food and Drug Administra­tion for the vaccine needed to be verified by the National Pharmaceut­ical Regulatory Agency for further action.

“Although this will help with our logistic management, the conditiona­l licence given (to Pfizer) is based on -80°C storage conditions. Pfizer has to submit new data to show the vaccine will stay stable stored at -20°C for two weeks.”

The US FDA reviewed the data submitted by the vaccine developer on the stability of the doses at normal freezer temperatur­es (25°C to -15°C).

On Feb 25, it issued a new guidance saying that the vaccine could be shipped and stored for up to two weeks at these relatively “higher” temperatur­es.

Khairy said updates on the next shipment of 182,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, set to arrive on Wednesday, would be provided next week.

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