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Cancer Institute Staff Well Prepared To Handle COVID-19 Vaccine

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PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) – The National Cancer Institute (IKN) here, which is now doubling up as a storage centre for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as well as a vaccination centre, has its hands full in ensuring the correct storage and handling of the vaccine.

The institute is among the 54 vaccine storage centres (PSV) and 605 vaccination centres (PPV) located nationwide.

Under the first phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, which kicked off on Feb 24, about 7,020 health and non-health frontliners in Putrajaya are scheduled to receive the Comirnaty vaccine, which is the brand name for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by United States-based Pfizer and BioNTech.

Since it is the first vaccine to be brought into Malaysia to curb COVID-19 transmissions, a key issue to consider would be the correct storage and handling of the vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech is very sensitive and has to be stored in temperatures ranging from -90°C to -60°C to ensure its efficacy. In Malaysia, it is stored in ultra-low temperature chest freezers (ULTF) at various PSV before distribution to the PPV.

CRITICAL 60-SECOND PERIOD

IKN director Dr Mohd Anis Haron @ Harun told Bernama the institute has made thorough preparations in terms of facilities and manpower to ensure the success of the nation’s largest-ever immunisation drive.

He said IKN has converted its logistics pharmacy into a storage centre for the COVID-19 vaccine while the foyer on level four of its building has been turned into a vaccination centre.

“We have been making the necessary preparations for two weeks and the staff selected to handle the vaccine have been given full training,” he said.

Mohd Anis said the staff concerned have to be very efficient as they have only 60 seconds or a minute to transfer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the ULTF into a cold box which has a temperature of between 2°C and 8°C.

The cold box is then inserted into a top-loading refrigerator before the vaccine supplies are distributed to the PPV in Putrajaya.

“The process of removing the vaccine from the ULTF has to be done carefully and the staff involved have to wear thick gloves to open the freezer and they just have one minute to transfer the vaccine (to a cold box),” he said, adding that the IKN staff have undergone training to familiarise themselves on the proper handling of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

IKN pharmacist Ahmad Tarmidzi Mohamed explained that before the vaccine can be used, it has to go through the thawing process for three hours after it is removed from the ULTF.

The ULTFs in IKN can each store 96 boxes of the COVID-19 vaccine, with each box containing 195 vials.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has to be handled carefully as it is not like other vaccines. For instance, if we remove several vials of vaccine from a box and put it (the box) back in the ULTF, the box has to remain in the freezer for two hours before it can be opened again,” he said.

NOTHING TO FEAR

Ahmad Tarmidzi said even the ULTF is sensitive to heat and has to be kept in an air-conditioned room to ensure that the vaccine’s storage temperature is maintained at the -75°C level.

“If the ULTF is kept in an ordinary place, there is a possibility of the freezer shutting down… the vaccine’s efficacy will be affected if the ULTF doesn’t function well,” he added.

IKN is tasked with supplying the COVID-19 vaccine to PPV located in Putrajaya and government health clinics in Kuala Lumpur.

IKN’s vaccination centre started operating on March 1 and so far 991 frontline staff have received their COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, head of IKN’s Occupational Safety and Health Unit Dr Melvyn Chin, who is also a vaccinator, urged the public to register themselves for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I myself have already been vaccinated and I didn’t feel any pain or have any side-effects. No need to be fearful of the vaccine. If you have the opportunity, do take the vaccine to help our nation in its fight against the pandemic,” he added.

Sources: BERNAMA

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COVID-19 Developments Remain Complicated In Regional Countries

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HANOI, May 6  — The COVID-19 development in several countries in the ASEAN region remain complicated, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

In Laos, the Health Ministry had confirmed 46 new COVID-19 cases on May 5, mostly in Vientiane and Bokeo province with 19 and 15 cases, respectively.

From May 4, the Lao government decided to apply lockdown for additional 15 days until May 20.

So far, Laos has discovered 1,072 COVID-19 cases, including 99 recoveries and no death.

Meanwhile in Thailand, the pandemic is still developing complicatedly with 2,112 new cases confirmed on May 5 and 15 deaths, raising the total cases to 74,000 cases, with 318 deaths.

Bangkok is still a hot spot of COVID-19 with 789 cases, VNA reported.

In Indonesia, 155,000 soldiers and policemen will be deployed within the framework of Operation Ketupat Jaya 2021 from May 6 to 17 to minimise the spreading of COVID-19 during the Muslims Eid al-Fitr holidays from May 13 to 14.

Some 4,276 personnel will be stationed in the capital city and its adjoining areas. The Jakarta Police will deploy these personnel at 14 isolation points and 17 check points.

The Operation Ketupat Jaya 2021 is being conducted to block access to and from Jabodetabek, to maintain security, and to monitor the implementation of health protocols to stem the transmission of the coronavirus disease before, during, and after Eid al-Fitr, among others.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force Wiku Adisasmito armed that all forms of homecoming activities, including the local homecoming, are banned during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr to lower the rate of COVID-19 infection.

At the same time, Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur will re-apply movement control order (MCO) from May 7. This will be the third time the city is placed in MCO to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaysian Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the order is given after 17 new clusters were recorded.
The order will be applied until May 20. Food premises, such as restaurants, food trucks, hawkers and kiosks, are allowed to operate from 6am to midnight only. Dine-ins are not allowed and food served are for delivery and takeaways only.

Malaysia on May 5 logged 3,744 new cases in the last 24 hours to bring the total to 424,376. There were 17 more deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 1,591.

The MCO was applied for the first time on March 18, 2020 and the second time on January 13, 2021.

The same day, Executive Secretary of the Philippine Presidential Office Salvador Medialdea said that the Southeast Asian country will ban tourists from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from May 7 to 14 as part of efforts to prevent the entry of SARS-CoV-2 variants found in India.

Travellers coming directly from those countries, or with a history of travel to any of them within the last 14 days, would be barred from entering, he said.

Earlier, the Philippines banned travellers from India from April 29 to May 14.

On May 5, the country confirmed 5,685 new COVID-19 cases and 178 deaths, raising the count to more than 1 million with 17,800 deaths.

In Cambodia, VNA reported that Prime Minister Hun Sen had on May 5 ordered to vaccinate more than 52,000 people in all areas in the red zones of Phnom Penh with COVID-19 vaccines, with the administration of the rst dose to be completed soon and the second dose to commence once the stipulated time frame has been
reached.

To date, more than 1.5 million people have been vaccinated with either Sinopharm, Sinovac or Covishield (AstraZenacca vaccines) since February 10.

The same day, the Cambodian Ministry of Health confirmed 672 new cases, raising the total cases to 16,971, including 110 deaths.

Source: BERNAMA

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(Video) Mumbai Teacher Drives Auto-Rickshaw, Carries Covid-19 Patients For Free

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India is now facing the worst threat of Covid with the death toll rapidly increasing and their oxygen supply thinning. As a result, many good samaritans are helping those in need. A man in Mumbai helps by providing a rickshaw service from hospital to home and visa versa for free.

“I drop off Covid patients to Care Centres and hospitals for free, and also bring discharged patients to their respective homes,” he added.

Dattatraya Swant, a teacher drives the auto-rickshaw by himself and provides free rides to Covid patients. He still makes sure to use precautions like wearing a PPE kit, sanitization, and others. Mr. Sawant teaches English at Dnyansagar Vidya Mandir School.

“For this, I personally take all precautionary measures. At present, the number of corona patients is increasing rapidly. Many of them are dying due to untimely treatment. In such a situation, whether the poor patients get government help in time or not, private ambulances are not affordable. And often public vehicles do not provide services to Covid patients. In such cases, my free service will be available to the patients,” he said in an interview.

As the number of coronavirus patients soars, his volunteer is highly appreciated by all.

Source: India.com, NDTV

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World Asthma Day: Unveiling 5 Asthma Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe

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Today we commemorate world asthma day. Asthma has become a serious health problem in many countries regardless of the economic condition of the country. Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory tract characterized by narrowing of the airways, inflammation, and increased airway response to various stimuli that cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

Other symptoms that can arise include chest pain, coughing, and wheezing that can be felt by patients who come to the pulmonologist. In diagnosing asthma, the doctor will do it comprehensively starting from recording the symptoms experienced and a physical examination. Investigations also need to be done to determine what therapy will be given.

Picture: Google

These are 5 myths about asthma that you should not believe:

1) Asthma is a disease that occurs only in childhood and will heal itself as the patient ages.

Asthma symptoms can appear at any age. When symptoms appear and the child is under 5 years of age, doctors cannot make a definite diagnosis of asthma. Usually, the doctor’s diagnosis is ‘possibly asthma’. Because to definitely diagnose asthma, a spirometry examination is needed. Spirometry is a method of evaluating lung function where the doctor will ask the patient to breathe with this device. You will see how much air enters and leaves the lungs. So that evaluation by spirometry is usually done in patients over 12 years of age to get a diagnosis of asthma. So, this first myth is not true.

2) Asthma can heal or go away on its own

Asthma is often thought of as a childhood disease that goes away with age. It is true that asthma often occurs in children. Asthma attacks are also more common in children. Even so, asthma doesn’t really go away. Research shows that asthma symptoms can change or become less frequent over time, but the condition persists. The condition in question is airway hyperactivity which can lead to chronic constriction and inflammation. Asthma can also occur in adults who never experienced symptoms as a child, usually as a result of prolonged or continuous exposure to asthma triggers.

3) It is not safe for people with asthma to exercise

Excessive, high-intensity exercise is a common asthma trigger, so it’s no surprise that many people believe that it is not safe to exercise or exercise if you have asthma. But asthma is no excuse for not living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, by exercising with the appropriate intensity, and the patient using controlled therapy recommended by his lung doctor according to the dosage and in the right way, then the inflammatory process that is the basis of this asthma can be controlled. So that patients can carry out their daily activities, even exercise properly without interruption, and can also help reduce the incidence of asthma attacks. Exercises to improve lung health, such as swimming, light walking to jogging were also found to be associated with improved quality of life and fewer asthma symptoms.

4) Masks are not safe for people with asthma

You may have heard that masks cause a dangerous build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2) which you end up breathing in. This is not true, the CO2 particles are so small that they easily pass through masks and even special protective masks like N95. Research has also proven that the use of masks does not reduce oxygen saturation in the blood. In fact, all people with lung disease are advised to wear a mask. Using a mask may indeed feel uncomfortable, but wearing a mask in conjunction with social distancing and maintaining cleanliness can protect yourself and others from contracting infectious diseases that can trigger asthma attacks.

5) Inhaled steroids used to treat asthma are dangerous

Steroids are one of the gold standard treatments that have been recognized globally for treating asthma. But steroids have gotten a bad reputation because many people speculate that inhaled corticosteroids can stunt children’s growth or become addicted. Many also think that the steroids used for the management of asthma are the same as the anabolic steroids used to build muscle. In fact, the steroids used for the management of asthma are corticosteroids which are actually similar to the hormones produced by the body. The corticosteroid that is routinely used is also an inhaled corticosteroid, which is an inhalation method so that it directly targets the airway, the dose is very small compared to the dose of oral medicine so that it does not pass through the digestive tract or enter the blood vessels. This inhaled corticosteroid works to suppress inflammation that occurs in asthma. The use of inhaled corticosteroids also of course must be under the close supervision of a doctor.

Sources: Pendidikan Pesakit

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