Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be effective against new Covid-19 variants, says Malaysia’s vaccine panel chief

Keertan Ayamany
·1-min read
A medical worker prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through Covid-19 vaccination site at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City January 13, 2021. — Reuters pic
A medical worker prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through Covid-19 vaccination site at the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City January 13, 2021. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine should be effective in providing immunisation for mutations of the virus such as those found in the UK, said Malaysia’s Vaccine Selection Technical Working Group chairman Dr Kalaiarasu Pearisamy today.

During an interview with Astro Awani, Dr Kalaiarasu said this was because messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines — which is used by Pfizer-BioNTech — targeted the same structures in the variants as those for which it was originally developed.

“Those who receive the vaccine do not need to worry as the response from the vaccine is adequate to provide immunity from these variations and other mutations.

“Maybe other mutations will show up, but basically all platforms used for Covid-19 studies show that it (the vaccine) is enough to fight the mutations of the disease as well,” he said.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that mRNA vaccines are a “new” technology, differentiating it from previous vaccination technology that used “weakened or inactivated germs” to develop immunisation in the recipient’s body.

Last Wednesday, the World Health Organisation reported that the faster-spreading UK Covid-19 virus variant has now been found in at least 60 countries.

Malaysia is to receive a total of 25 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year, with the first batch of doses set to arrive next month.

Related Articles MoH to establish Covid-19 Assessment Centre to rank patients’ illness severity Minister: Govt may use Emergency powers to increase fines for Covid-19 breaches instead of just RM1,000, up jail terms Covid-19: 16 new clusters today, nine workplace clusters