The government is assuring vaccine recipients that their personal data, which are registered under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), will not be shared with pharmaceutical companies. This was announced by Khairy Jamaluddin, the coordinating minister of PICK, last night during the “Sembang Vaksin” video programme organised by a group of doctors and health personnel under MedTweetMY via Zoom.
“The people need not worry, we (the government) will not reveal their personal data to the vaccine manufacturing company and will only be shared in cases of AEFI,” he said. For those unfamiliar, adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) – as described by the World Health Organization (WHO) – is any unexpected medical occurrence which follows immunisation and which does not necessarily have a casual relationship with the usage of the vaccine. These include unfavourable or unintended signs such as side-effects, and abnormal laboratory findings, symptoms or diseases.
Khairy also assured that the arrangement between Malaysia and Pfizer-BioNTech is unlike the situation between the company and Israel, where personal data of vaccine recipients in the country are shared. According to Reuters, Israel agreed to provide its citizens’ health data to Pfizer as part of the vaccination supply deal, but says that patient identity will be kept anonymous. The Washington Post, meanwhile, noted that the Israel-Pfizer contract was made public in early January, but specifics mentioning costs and data sharing were redacted.
The first phase of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme was launched on 24 February 2021. A total of 15,923 individuals had already received the first dose of the vaccine as of 6:30pm on 28 February, the minister revealed.