The opt-in program for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine kicked off in Malaysia on Wednesday.
The government on April 28 removed the jab from its pool of vaccines following public concerns over possible links to very rare blood clots, four days after it received the first batch of 268,800 doses through COVAX.
“The occurrence of blood clots is very rare, and the administration of this vaccine has taken into account its benefits in preventing COVID-19 infection, which outweighs the risks from vaccination,” Health Minister Adham Baba said.
Four special vaccination centers – World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Malaya in KL, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi, and Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam, Selangor – were set up for the voluntary program.
Those who choose not to opt for the AstraZeneca jabs will be given either the Pfizer or Sinovac vaccine.
Vaccination drive in Malaysia began in late February, and as many as 960,070 people have received their first dose, while 609,539 have been fully vaccinated.
The Southeast Asian country has registered 424,376 COVID-19 cases, and 1,591 related deaths.
*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency's Indonesian language services in Jakarta
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