Vaccine still effective if Covid-19 virus mutates

by Theleaders-Online | January 6, 2021 3:53 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5: “If the COVID-19 virus mutates, God willing, the vaccine designed by scientists will still be effective,“ says an expert on whether it is necessary to create a new vaccine if the virus mutates.

Consultant Pediatrician at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital Dr Musa Mohd Nordin said this is because the human body itself was ‘intelligent’, as it not only released antibodies to kill a virus, but also produced antibodies that had immunological memory.

He said, even if a person’s antibody level decreased, the human body had memory cells that could produce new antibodies when attacked by a virus.

“Despite the decrease (in antibodies), there are only about 30 cases of reinfections so far. Imagine, out of the over 80 million COVID-19 cases, the ones affected by COVID-19 a second time are only about 30,“ he said during the ‘Wacana Sinar Harian’ programme here tonight.

Also present at the programme were the International Islamic University (IIUM) rector Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak and Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

On vaccine safety, Dr Musa said experts considered a two-month period as being sufficient to identify more than 90 per cent of the main side effects.

He said so far, 90 per cent of the side effects identified were minor, such as pain, redness and swelling at the place of injection, which usually heals within two days.

For systemic effects such as dizziness, weakness, fatigue and fever, it is about 50 per cent, especially for those who were below 55, and who received a second dose of the injection.

“This is a small side effect after immunization, there are no warnings of greater danger. I hope Malaysians remain open-minded and do not be influenced by social media that is not based on proof, arguments and facts. We must check the facts,“ he added.

Meanwhile, Dzulkifli also touched on the issue of discrimination in terms of availability, accessibility and affordability in health-related matters, especially with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine.

He said, for example, although the vaccine was available, rural communities may not have access to them.

“So this is a question that we need to focus on, because we find that discrimination in the society is still rampant, especially in terms of health, will the information reach the (people at the) shores or upstream?

“If we look at it in the global context, rich countries will get this (vaccine) first, it is as if other people are not important in this context.

This is one of the aspects that we need to think about when we want to provide (the vaccine) to all the people,” he said. – Bernama

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