The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) would like to provide some important information in response to the news article released this week titled “I almost died from injection”. This is crucial to ensure balanced information both from the patient and MHMS is provided to the public.

The patient received vaccination on Monday this week at 10:20am followed by the usual 30 minutes post vaccination monitoring and there was no immediate adverse side effects noted. The patient was then allowed to return to work however almost in an hours-time, the patient started to feel some lower limb numbness coupled with feeling weak.

The Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) team were notified and mobilized to the site (where the patient was) immediately and conducted vital tests. All vitals tests like blood pressure, heart and respiration rate, oxygen and sugar level including measure of consciousness all returned results normal results. The patient was then ambulanced to the Central Field Hospital (CHF) and was managed by medical staff.

Nevertheless, the patient continued to express feeling of numbness and weakness despite normal vital tests and medical examination. For precautionary measures, CHF team referred the patient to the National Referral Hospital Emergency Department for further observations.

Following further observations at ED it was noted the patient was clinically stable throughout observations and was kept overnight for monitoring purposes. It was also found that the patient had actually been feeling unwell already prior to receiving the vaccines with multiple visitations to the NRH as recorded in the patient’s medical book with a record of fever and being unwell three days prior to vaccination. The patient was discharged the next day and will return on April 1st for follow up.

The MHMS would like to reiterate to the public that there will be some side effects post vaccination which includes slight fever, pain at vaccination site (arm) headaches, nausea, dizzy, numbness at the injection site which are all expected and should subside in the next day or two. The symptoms like numbness of the limbs or body have not been reported in the clinical trials of the vaccine.

Also important to note that vaccination is to generate immune system response thus, once the immune system responds, there is possibility of people experiencing the symptoms highlighted above.

As of day 6 of vaccination yesterday, estimated cumulative total of persons vaccinated is over 2000. With this, only 20 people vaccinated were reported of having minor side effects (stated above) immediately after receiving the vaccine or during the 30 minutes observation post vaccination.

There are also others who develop these minor side effects later after leaving the field hospital that is reported through the Our Telekom SMS to all vaccinated persons and health would like to advise that it is also normal. Otherwise those vaccinated who have any problems, concerns or fears after leaving the field hospital can call the field hospital on phone 22498 8am – 4:30am or 115, National Health Emergency Operation Centre 115 (opens 24/7).

Anaphylaxis, which is the most serious form of adverse reaction which can usually happen immediately after vaccination to date has not been recorded and medical staff at the CFH are on high alert for this when administering vaccination.

We are also taking note of the other side effects such as clotting disorders reported after the vaccination in certain countries of the World. Those disorders which could present as stroke or numbness and swelling of limb start after 5 days of vaccination and any of these symptoms reported immediately after the vaccination are not caused by the vaccine.

We would like to assure the people that we are closely monitoring the safety profile of the vaccine including reported adverse events following vaccination and taking proactive measures to collect, analyse these reports and provide appropriate medical services to the people having side effects of the vaccine.

Source: MHMS Media Release