Are ‘blank shots’ just isolated incidents, or is there more to it?

Malaysians are still grappling with the lockdowns, and many continue to suffer the impact of loss of incomes and livelihoods.

Many too are being told to register for their Covid-19 vaccination, risking the possibility of being infected, at the mega vaccination centres (PPV) where there are large crowds.

In fact, already one of these mega centres have had to be closed in order to be sanitised because 204 of the staff were infected with Covid-19.

And now, there are cases of the vaccinating staff not injecting any vaccines into the arms by not pressing the plunger that would have pushed the vaccine into the patient’s arm.

Reports state that three individuals have been arrested.

The concern is, how many of such cases were not discovered? Very few people look at needles being pushed into their flesh, and I am actually one of them.

Is there a scam going on? Where staff pretend to vaccinate people but no vaccine was actually injected? Was it to pocket the vials of vaccine in order to sell them off for financial gain?

Surely, many are questioning if they actually were vaccinated, and do they actually have the ability to fend off a Covid-19 infection.

That puts people in a perilous situation, thinking that they have been vaccinated but are as vulnerable to infection as before.

The vaccination committee must address this violation of ethics and public trust. Families stand to be unknowingly exposed to Covid-19 infection.

If it is indeed a scam and was deliberately done, it reflects just how deeply corruption has seeped into society.

Cash is king has indeed become the new normal, even in providing public services.

The health minister is supposed to be a medical doctor and co-chairs the vaccination committee. What SOPs have been set out to prevent such abuses? He must know the meaning of the Hippocratic Oath.

Primum non nocere – First, do no harm.

These abuses can do untold harm, with the already vaccinated doubting where they did, in fact, receive the vaccine, and the yet to be vaccinated being hesitant to receive their vaccination.

The vaccination committee must take serious action to stop such incidents and investigate the extent of the abuses. We are dealing with millions of vaccinations.

WRITER – RAFIDAH AZIZ is former international trade and industry minister. – MKINI

Fatigue could be behind ‘blank shot’ cases – deputy health minister

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