Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali has floated the possibility that fatigued vaccinators could be behind “blank shot” cases.
However, if blank shots were found to be given intentionally, he wants appropriate action taken.
Asked during a press conference whether tiredness was a possible reason why some recipients received blank shots, Noor Azmi agreed.
“If this happened because of fatigue, they (the vaccinator) should rest.
“And if this happened on purpose, it is a very sinister thing to do and the ministry should take appropriate action when the incident is proven,” he added.
Malaysiakini obtained an audio recording of the press conference.
Noor Azmi, a former general practitioner, stressed that inoculation was a serious matter and said ramping up vaccinations must not come at the expense of quality of care.
“If possible, we want to achieve 500,000 shots per day so that we can quickly have 80 percent (of the population) vaccinated.
“But we want quality, which means we don’t want to form a cluster so let us ensure we have physical distancing and a (good) attitude.
“And like I mentioned previously, mistakes can happen when we are too tired,” he said, adding that the ministry was prepared to mobilise people to areas that needed help.
Earlier this week, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) identified three allegations linked to blank vaccine shots and said the police had begun investigations.
The first involved a woman who was recorded being given a blank shot at a drive-through PPV at the Lapangan Terbang army camp in Sungai Petani, Kedah.
The second was Tan Wing Sam, who confronted a Mitec PPV nurse for giving him a blank shot and was subsequently given another Pfizer jab. He later lodged a police report.
The third case happened at the Bangi Avenue Convention Centre PPV to a man named Ariff. He lodged a police report after he suspected he was almost given a blank Sinovac shot.
Kajang police have since dismissed Ariff’s allegations and are instead investigating his girlfriend’s tweets about the incident.
Still unresolved is the case of Simon Ng, who realised he had been jabbed with a blank shot after reviewing a video of his vaccination process.
He later lodged a police report about his July 6 Hospital Banting PPV appointment.
When asked about Ng’s case previously, Noor Azmi denied that fatigued vaccinators was a potential factor as each vaccinator was supposed to be accompanied by “two or three observers”.
He also warned of misinformation.
“This is not the time to joke around. I do not agree and deeply regret this bad news.
“Aside from worrying about the rise and spread of Covid-19 cases, we are also worried about misinformation. We have to tabayyun (verify). I did receive (news) about the case,” he was quoted as saying by state-owned news agency Bernama. – MKINI