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Any Vaccine Shortage Temporary, Unlikely To Impact Global Vaccination Strategy – Experts

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 —The move by the European Union (EU) to restrict export of COVID-19 vaccine due to the spectre of a deadly third wave infection and India’s move to suspend vaccine export as infections soar across the country is a cause of concern for the world.

Coupled with the United States’ (US) action in blocking export of raw materials for the vaccine production in order to ramp up production for the Pfizer BioNTech’s vaccine – Comirnaty – for the US market, many non-vaccine producing nations have reasons to fear that they could be facing a vaccine shortage.

The world has been following with concern the United Kingdom and EU’s vaccine tussle over the last few weeks after the latter threatened an export ban on COVID-19 vaccine. India’s suspension of the vaccine export is also disappointing as the move will keep many of the world’s poorest nations waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, experts in Malaysia feel the restriction of vaccine export is unlikely to have significant impact on the national COVID-19 immunisation programmes and any shortages are only temporary.

University of Malaya’s Epidemiology and Public Health expert Professor Dr Sanjay Rampal Lekhraj Rampal says any delay in delivery of the vaccine may not significantly affect vaccination strategies in the short to mid-term period.

Dr Sanjay Rampal feels the shortage is due to acute global demand rather than export restrictions, and will be overcome in the near future as producers too will be ramping up production.

Moreover, many countries, including Malaysia, have their own strategies in getting the vaccine. This include acquiring several vaccine portfolios to ensure adequate supply of vaccines for the population.

He provided Malaysia as a good example of a country that plan ahead for the vaccine procurement.

“Malaysia is lucky that the government has made arrangement to vaccinate 110 per cent of the population.

“Based on the strategic plan, 90 per cent (of) Malaysians should still have access to vaccines even without the AstraZeneca vaccines,” he said to Bernama.

Meanwhile, international security expert Prof Dr Kamarulnizam Abdullah from Universiti Utara Malaysia also concurs with Dr Sanjay Rampal that procuring the vaccine from multiple sources and considering different vaccines is the way forward.

“Malaysia’s strategy in not solely relying on Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca, and getting it from multiple sources could provide the alternatives in keeping the vaccination programme on track, even if some shortages happen.

“China is conducting vaccine diplomacy by offering assistance to countries that might not be able to outsource the vaccine from Europe or India,” he said pointing out other sources available in the event of any shortages at other suppliers.

On addressing the global inequality in COVID-10 vaccine distribution, especially for the less developed countries, Kamarulnizam said richer nations with oversupply of vaccines should offer it to poor countries in the efforts to ensure the global fight against the pandemic is successful.

To ensure fair distribution of the vaccine, the distribution should be coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the United Nations (UN) so that it reaches the poor countries too.

“But rich countries, like the US and the EU, must be part of this effort,” he said.

Malaysia rolled out its national COVID-19 immunisation programme on Feb 24 with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines followed by China-made Sinovac vaccines beginning March 18.

According to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, Malaysia previously bought 12.8 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and added another seven million doses to cover 50 per cent of the country’s population.

He added that the Health Ministry also agreed to purchase 12 million doses of fill and finish Sinovac vaccines from Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd, apart from 200,000 doses of final product from Beijing.

Besides Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines, Malaysia have also signed agreements to procure AstraZeneca, CanSino and the Sputnik V vaccines to widen its vaccine portfolio.

Malaysia had targeted to inoculate 9.4 million people under the Phase 2 of the programme which will begin in April.

Sources: BERNAMA

Health

Use These Healthy ‘Sahur’ Tips By A Certified Dietitian For Everyone To Practice

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When the holy month of Ramadan arrives, many people definitely cannot wait to finally go to the Ramadan bazaar to buy their favorite food. Well, it is not often to see this kind of situation because the food that got sold in the Ramadan bazaar is actually difficult to get on a normal day and some of them are very popular during this month alone. Because of that, many people decided to buy a lot of them to be eaten during break fast and some others also eat the food that they bought at that time and eat it during ‘sahur’.

This kind of attitude usually will make them feel tired so much faster because they did not take the right type of food or even did not take the right amount of food that they need during ‘sahur’. In fact, calories are usually less so the nutrients are taken less when fasting. Let us see the healthy ‘sahur’ tips that have been shared by Salsabila Aznan who is a certified dietitian on her own Twitter page.

1) Compulsory Intake Of Quarter Half Portion

Some may say that eating rice could make us becomes hungry even quicker. It is true if you only eat rice with egg, you will get hungry quickly. Make sure half of the plate is vegetables and not rice. Vegetable fiber helps to make you feel full longer when you are fasting.

2) Take Source Of Protein

Protein is also slow to digest. If you want to eat dates, add a glass of milk to get a minimum of protein and carbohydrates. If you eat rice, you can take fish, chicken, tofu, or even eggs.

3) Reduce Processed Foods

Avoid eating nuggets, sausages or even burgers during ‘sahur’. The one who loves to eat ‘budu’ and also ‘cencalok’, try to reduce the intake. Foods that are high in salt make you thirsty quickly.

4) Minimum 2 Glasses Of Water During Sahur

This is just a suggestion. You can drink more than 2 glasses of water if you want to. Make sure to drink enough water during ‘sahur’ so that you are energized during the day.

5) Variate ‘Sahur’ Every Day

Nutrients depend on the variety of food types. Don’t just take oats every ‘sahur’. Or salad every day. Diversify the intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and also vegetables.

Sources: Twitter Salsabila Aznan

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Johnson and Johnson Jab May Cause Unusual Blood Clotting

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BRUSSELS, April 21 – The European Medicine Agency (EMA) confirmed on Tuesday that there could be a link between Johnson & Johnson vaccines and very rare cases of blood clots, Anadolu Agency reported.

“A warning about unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be added to the product information for COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen,” the EU regulator announced in a statement following the investigation of its safety committee.

But the EMA upheld its recommendation to use the jabs and confirmed that its benefits outweighed possible risks.

The investigation also concluded that “blood clots occurred mostly at unusual sites such as in veins in the brain (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, CVST) and the abdomen (splanchnic vein thrombosis) and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding.”

According to the EU agency, over seven million people received the product of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company and it caused serious blood clotting in eight cases.

The cases were very similar to the side effects of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

In March, several European countries – including Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway – suspended the use of AstraZeneca jabs for a while after blood clots were reported in some vaccinated people.

The EMA’s investigation also concluded on Apr. 7 that there could be a possible link between AstraZeneca vaccines and very rare cases of blood clots.

Similarly, the EU regulator upheld its recommendation on using the jabs since its benefits outweighed the risks.

Source: BERNAMA

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Health

(Video) TikTok’s Latest Food Trend, Have You Tried It?

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In this time of the pandemic, everyone is trying to practice a healthier lifestyle at home. There recently a new food trend circulating on TikTok that acts as a substitute for morning cereal.

Dubbed ‘nature’s cereal’ by its creator @natures_food it is a concoction of red berries, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries with coconut water.

@natures_foodnature’s cereal ##fruit ##fruits ##share

♬ original sound – 🥭Fruits & Leaves🍃

Picture: Google

Rather than sitting down to a bowl of sugar-laden breakfast cereal, the internet is going wild for this healthier alternative. To add more crunch, just add ice cubes.

@lizzoAnother s/o to @natures_food since y’all hoes can’t read lol AAAAAAND for the “unblended smoothie” hive — it’s not bussin Janelle 😏♬ Triple S – YN Jay & Louie Ray

The concept got a further boost from the singer Lizzo, which makes it gains more success.

Source: @natures_food, People, Lizzo

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