Monday, July 26, 2021

Malaysia's Other Covid Numbers

Covid cases in Malaysia are comfy at 5 digits and nothing's gonna change. And yet it's  bewildering to note that the authorities are confidently predicting numbers to drastically plunge next month. 

Wow,  talk about misplaced optimism. Unless they know something that I do not. 

Already, we have racked up another new record today with 1,009 patients warded in ICU. 

Interestingly, Health D-G Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that 92 percent of new Covid cases were not vaccinated. Another way of looking at it is that 8 percent of those who have been immunized have Covid. 

Anyway, I don't see cases coming down anytime soon - and I'm betting that we'll quietly abandon the idea of focusing on infection numbers and instead highlight on the number of deaths and patients needing critical care, what we refer to as Levels 3, 4 and 5. This way, we'll be looking at only numbers that are in two or three digits. A lot more palatable, I daresay.

We shall see if I'm right or not.

Hartal Doktor Kontrak

Thousands of young Malaysian medics plan to participate in an industrial action today to express their discontent with a contract system they say is unfair. 

It is said there are something like 23,077 contract medical officers nationwide who are in limbo over a lack of pathways to obtain permanent jobs. 

And all of them have been on the frontlines battling the Covid pandemic. 

These doctors earn far less than counterparts with permanent jobs, face slow career progression dependent on contract renewals and cannot move to the private sector until they have served close to five years in the public health system – as it is mandated for all medical graduates. 

The PN government have been dragging their feet – and after much deliberate delay, on Friday, the backdoor prime minister made a couple of small concessions to try and pacify the aggrieved doctors but organizers called the move ‘half-baked’ and vowed to go ahead with the walkout. 

Dr Mustapha Kamal, a spokesman for the Hartal Doktor Kontrak (Doctors’ Contract Strike) group, noted that the proposals were enclosed in a press statement rather than a government circular – which he said meant officials could go back on their word any time. 

“As long as the government refuses to call [the strike organisers] to the negotiation table, we will proceed with the hartal”, he said. "We want this solution to be in a government circular, in black and white”. 

As the public face behind the planned strike, the doctor said the effort has become more than just about contract doctors. “We are fighting for the nation’s health care”, he had declared on Friday. 

I support Hartal Doktor Kontrak!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Malaysia Hits Jackpot

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health reported a record 17,045 Covid-19 cases and 92 deaths in the past 24 hours, with total infections now passing the ONE MILLION MARK.

To be exact, 1,013,438 cases todate.

We hit jackpot! 

Malaysians know who to point the finger at – and surely, we must expect these twats and idiots to be held accountable for the mountain of Covid mess they are burying us under. 

In fact, a police report has been lodged in Kuala Lumpur over the Perikatan Nasional government’s alleged mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A band of activists and opposition lawmakers led by lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan (left), had resolved to act today. 

She said: “We decided to lodge a report because we believe there must be accountability. Some of the issues that we highlighted include not enough early testing, the manner in which the government has failed to share (enough) information, mistreatment of migrant workers and not enough resources given to the hospitals. 

We are now asking the accountability of this government in the way that they have handled this crisis. They must know that there are legal consequences for negligence in Malaysia today. We are talking about the lives of Malaysians and we cannot but take this very seriously”. 

She added that the report was made under Section 269 and Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code. 

Section 269 covers a negligent action in which a person knows or has reason to believe is likely to cause the spread of infectious diseases dangerous to life which is punishable by a maximum six-month imprisonment or fine or both. 

And Section 304 (a) states whoever causes the death of any person, by doing any rash or negligence act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both. 

Certainly, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba and related ministries must be held liable for their alleged criminal negligence. 

One brilliant suggestion I saw on Facebook:

#KerajaanBodoh #KerajaanGagal 

Covid Cases Surge in Sweden and Iceland Despite Vaccinations

Sweden is already preparing to administer a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this September, local media had reported on July 08, 2021. 

Speaking to Swedish daily Aftonbladet, Richard Bergstrom, the Scandinavian country's vaccination coordinator, said Covid cases are on the rise. 

Bergstrom said people have become infected after receiving two doses of vaccine, suggesting everyone must be careful. A third dose should be given, he insisted. 

And then added that the country is also preparing for a fourth dose expected to be administered in the future. 

Iceland is another country which has done very well with its vaccination rollout, with over 85 percent of the population above 16 being fully jabbed. 

Yet, I just read that the country is seeing a surge in cases, the majority of which are due to the Delta variant. 

It is set to resume restrictions at its borders, requiring a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test less than 72 hours old for travellers who are fully vaccinated.

Therefore, it would be foolhardy for Malaysia to think that just because we are rushing to vaccinate everybody in order to achieve the so-called herd immunity, we'll soon be out of the woods. Not by a long shot!

On Friday, Liverpool’s pre-season game – their first over a full 90 minutes – was against Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05 (or just Mainz) and which saw the former earning a low-key 1-0 win. 

The next match is against Hertha Berlin on Thursday.

194 Million Cases and UK Contemplates Booster Shots

Covid refuses to be ignored as it infects the world without pause. The world is now sitting on 194 million cases.

Pakistan is country #30 to have accumulated one million cases. Psst, Malaysia is next, given our massive daily Covid numbers. We're very nearly there! 

And Ghana has joined C100K, making it country #101.

In the UK, a UCL Virus Watch study has received support from scientists – and they are backing proposals for Covid boosters beginning September, given their concerns about post-jab falls in antibodies. 

Falls in antibodies after vaccination are expected and do not necessarily mean people are more vulnerable to disease – but the researchers are concerned that if the declines persist the effectiveness of the vaccines may diminish. 

Note: While antibody levels are important for protection, the immune system has other defences that are built up after infection or vaccination. It is normal for antibody levels to wane over time and for the immune system to “remember” the infection with memory B cells. Should the virus invade, these cells rapidly churn out antibodies targeted at the virus. Further protection comes from T cells, which destroy infected cells and limit the severity of disease. 

The said study found that antibodies generated by two doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines started to wane as early as six weeks after the second shot, in some cases falling more than 50% over 10 weeks. 

A final decision on whether to proceed has not been made. 

From Scotland, Professor Eleanor Riley (left) of Edinburgh University said: “I’m not sure that we have enough data yet to say that we actually need to do boosters. We don’t know if we need them. Giving them is going to be expensive and time-consuming. But it might be better than taking the risk of not giving them”.

Indeed, it is unclear whether protection from vaccines has weakened enough to warrant boosters and there are those who argue the doses are needed more urgently in developing countries. 

Prof Matthew Snape (right), a vaccinologist at Oxford University, had this to say: “It’s clear that ongoing protection from vaccines for months to years after immunisation can’t be assumed, hence the importance of ongoing vigilance for any increase in breakthrough infections”.

Whatever one's position on this issue, Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization maintains that the booster campaign would be an important insurance policy for vulnerable Brits.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Still On The "Cucuk Angin" Issue

This is a follow-up to my Tuesday post "The Case of the Empty Syringes".

Malaysia’s ‘Spanish Fly’ minister Dr Adham Baba (right) told Malay-language daily Berita Harian on Tuesday that any individual who can prove that he or she has been “vaccinated” with an empty syringe will receive a new injection. 

How to show proof, I am wondering aloud. Unless these people are tested for antibodies. And if the government are ready to foot the bill. 

A simplistic response from a simpleton.

Meanwhile, his daffy deputy has come up with a new excuse. He blamed it on fatigue.

Anyway, vaccine recipients should know of the SOP protocol governing vaccinations. 

Vaccinators are required to show the syringe, filled with the prescribed quantity of the Covid-19 vaccine, prior to its administration to a recipient. And they are also required to show the empty syringe to recipients after the injection is done. Oh yes, now the public can take videos and photos of themselves getting vaccinated.

Indeed, Malaysians are getting anxious and alarmed over the “Cucuk Angin” issue. Already, some police reports on vaccination irregularities have been made by those who claimed they did not experience any side effects after getting their Covid-19 vaccines. 

Vaccination minister Khairy Jamaluddin (right) appears to suggest this is a non-issue. 

Of the 16 million Covid-19 vaccine jabs given so far, there have only been 13 police reports alleging they were given “placebo” vaccines or none at all, with the majority being the result of a misunderstanding, he was quoted as saying. 

Summore, he stressed that there are no links between complaints of empty syringes used for vaccination and the black market sale of vaccines. 

Hmm, how does he know that for sure when he himself highlighted that the police are still investigating black market vaccine sales?! 

I wish these “ministers” can play back and listen to their own words that they have expelled from their mouths. They come out as plain idiotic twaddle and you have to kinda expect it because they ARE idiots.

Covid Vaccines Do Not Provide Total Immunity

Whether Malaysians are genuinely getting the vaccinations or if it's just "cucuk angin", they should still know that Covid jabs do not provide total immunity. 

In fact, I had posted this on this blog on April 15, 2021 and I think it’s pertinent to re-post it: 

Anyway, I'm making this point because of a July 15 news report in Singapore's The Straits Times about World Dream, a Dream Cruises liner that was forced to turn back to the island republic after a Covid-19 case was found on board.

The 40-year-old passenger had tested negative during the mandatory pre-departure ART (antigen rapid test) on Sunday, the day of departure. And according to a notice from Dream Cruises to passengers seen by the Singapore daily, the infected individual was reported to have already received both Covid-19 vaccination doses. 

Indeed, you can never be too careful!

And for your info, three quarters of Singapore’s Covid-19 infections in the last four weeks were among vaccinated individuals, government data shows, as a rapid ramp-up in the city-state’s inoculation leaves fewer people unvaccinated.  

As I was collecting details and getting confirmation for the above, I came across a related news report published on Monday from Canada’s CTV News that carried this intriguing headline “Some cruise lines not accepting passengers with mixed Covid-19 vaccinations”! 

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization had in June 2021 allowed for mix-and-match vaccines, recommending that a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can be safely combined with a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shots. 

They also said that while Canadians should be offered the same mRNA vaccine for their second dose as they received for their first if it's available, a second shot of either Pfizer or Moderna is still acceptable. 

But some cruise lines say they will not recognize international passengers who've mixed and matched vaccinations. 

A notice on the company's website, Norwegian Cruise Line said they will not accept mixed vaccination protocols on cruises that embark or disembark from US ports. 

The statement added that all other vessels departing from non-US ports will accept any US FDA, WHO or EMA authorized vaccines, as well as a mixed vaccine series "of only AstraZeneca-SK Bio, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna combinations". 

For Princess Cruise Lines, guests who have received a vector vaccine, including AstraZeneca, as their first dose, followed by an mRNA vaccine "will not be considered fully vaccinated". 

However, the company will allow for passengers who received mixed mRNA vaccine doses, such as Pfizer and Moderna. 

Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line also currently have similar policies in place. 

Royal Caribbean reportedly removed their mixed vaccine policy from their website over the weekend, saying that Covid-19 vaccines fully approved or authorized for emergency use by a national regulatory authority or global health organization are accepted. However, the company noted this may change depending on the port of the cruise. 

While the mix-and-match approach has become common in countries such as Canada and the UK, the US FDA do not recognize Covid-19 vaccine mixing. Besides, they only approve American-made vaccines, i.e. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. 

The WHO's chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (left) on July 12 noted that there is limited data on mixing and matching vaccines and that it could be a "chaotic" situation if "citizens start deciding" when they should be taking "a second or a third or a fourth dose" and from which vaccine manufacturer.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Alligator Cruelty

Methinks, America is a loony bin! 

A 32-year-old Florida man is accused of wrestling with an alligator that he stole from a miniature golf course and later trying to hurl it onto the roof of a cocktail bar. 

After his throwing skills failed him, he was seen holding the gator by the tail and trying to whack it against the ground. 

When police caught up with him and then asked William "Bubba" Hodge what caused the cruel behavior toward the alligator, he said he was "teaching it a lesson." A lesson on what, exactly, was unclear. 

Police charged him "with five offenses, including the felonies of Animal Cruelty, Possession/Injury of an Alligator, and Burglary", according to Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety's Facebook page. It is said that it is highly unlikely these charges will teach the brute any lessons at all. 

Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (left) pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles, USA ahead of a second trial. 

He faced eleven charges of attacking five women between 2004 to 2013. They include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force. 

If convicted, Weinstein could spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Sixty-nine-year-old Weinstein arrived at Los Angeles Superior Court for his first appearance there in a wheelchair, wearing a brown jail uniform, after being extradited from New York on Tuesday where he is serving 23 years in prison for rape and other sexual offences.

Liverpool Loses World Heritage Status

The English port city of Liverpool has been removed from UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, making it only the third site to have its sought-after listing withdrawn.

The United Nations’ culture organisation’s World Heritage Committee voted to remove the designation on Wednesday because of developments in the city center and on its historic River Mersey waterfront. 

The committee said the projects, including a planned new stadium for local football club Everton, were “detrimental to the site’s authenticity and integrity” and had caused “irreversible loss of attributes”. 

But civic leaders in Liverpool expressed distress over the decision and city mayor Joanne Anderson (right) branded the move “incomprehensible”. 

She said: “Our World Heritage site has never been in better condition having benefitted from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment. But, whatever happens, Liverpool will always be a World Heritage city. We have a stunning waterfront and incredible built heritage that is the envy of other cities”. 

Liverpool was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations’ cultural organisation in 2004, joining landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

The city, which is the hometown of the famed band The Beatles, was put on the list in recognition of its role as one of the world’s most important ports during the 18th and 19th centuries and for its architectural beauty. The docks declined and became derelict in the 20th century, but have been restored with museums, shops, bars, restaurants and new housing developments, making Liverpool a symbol of urban renewal. 

The threat of being delisted by UNESCO has hung over Liverpool since 2012 after the body warned that plans for flats and offices would destroy the city’s skyline. 

An experts’ report considered by the World Heritage Committee prior to its decision yesterday said “inadequate governance processes, mechanisms, and regulations for new developments in and around the World Heritage property” resulted in “serious deterioration and irreversible loss of attributes”. 

But Steve Rotheram (left), the Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said UNESCO’s move was “a retrograde step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground”. 

“Many of the sites cited by UNESCO are in communities sorely in need of investment”, he said. “Places like Liverpool should not be faced with the binary choice between maintaining heritage status or regenerating left-behind communities – and the wealth of jobs and opportunities that come with it”. 

The only other sites stripped previously of the World Heritage Site title are a wildlife sanctuary in Oman in 2007 after poaching and habitat loss and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany in 2009 when a four-lane bridge was built over the river. 

The heritage label gives historic sites access to UN conservation funding as well as featuring in tourist guidebooks across the world.

193 Million Cases and India’s Under-Reported Covid Deaths

The Covid caseload has burgeoned to 193 million. The world doesn't seem to be seeing an end to this cursed pandemic.

Anyway, here's an interesting read that is shaming India.

One research group on Tuesday implied that India has under-reported, intentionally or unintentionally its coronavirus death toll – the Center for Global Development’s estimate is up to 10 times higher than the 418,500 fatalities reported by authorities – likely making it the country’s worst humanitarian disaster since independence. 

The study which analyzed data from the start of the pandemic to June this year suggested that between 3.4 million and 4.7 million people had died from the virus.

Many so-called experts have regularly cast doubt on India's numbers. 

A model by the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation calculated that the Covid-19 toll could be more than 1.25 million. 

And Christophe Guilmoto, a specialist in Indian demography at France’s Research Institute for Development this month came out with his own estimations – he put the death toll to be nearer 2.2 million by late May. 

India’s death rate per million was nearly half the world average and Guilmoto said “such a low figure contradicts the apparent severity of a crisis that has struck most Indian families across the country”. Guilmoto’s team concluded that only one coronavirus death in seven was recorded. 

But of course, India is in denial. Its health ministry last month slammed The Economist magazine for publishing a story that said excess deaths were between five and seven times higher than the official toll, calling it “speculative” and “misinformed”. 

For sure, the government are upset because it places the country in an awkward, if not embarrassing position where the world can see death numbers that have been manipulated and distorted. 

And I purposely employ the words 'manipulated' and 'distorted' because the fatalities that had gone unrecorded are in the millions and which don't give me the impression that they had been unintentionally miscounted. 

Moreover, these 'missing' deaths surely makes India’s cokamammy boast – Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s now infamous January 2021 speech to the World Economic Forum, in which he declared that “India is among those countries which have succeeded in saving the lives of the maximum number of its citizens” – sound very hollow. 

If you must know, India's case fatality rate is a flawed indicator to begin with – and only makes sense in a country that’s doing a half-decent job of counting its Covid-19 dead. For a long time now, it has been clear that India is not.

And I’m not referring to just the second wave that hit India in April and May 2021 where even more deaths had piled up. Even way before that, it was already a massive problem but nobody was concerned about it. 

It has been said that the country went into the pandemic with a death registration system that recorded only 92 of every 100 deaths. In Bihar, a state of 123 million people, just half of all deaths are registered in a given year. A third of all people who die receive no medical attention at all after death. And 4 out of 5 deaths are not medically certified, meaning that the cause of death is not medically established. With a system of this sort, it was expected that India would miscount Covid deaths, just as it undercounts deaths from other diseases.

Again, the Indian government yesterday firmly rejected the new calculations from the said studies. 

Still, the official counts already make India look bad. Worldwide, the country todate has the second highest number of Covid cases and the third highest number of deaths. Yesterday, even for daily counts, it has the fifth highest infections and the fourth highest fatalities.

Point to note: India is not the only country engaged in under-counting.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Malaysia Still Stuck With 5-Digit Covid Numbers

More leeway is granted for Selangor and Kuala Lumpur and the other states that are still under Phase One of the National Recovery (read, Relapse) Plan. 

Quarries and mines are allowed to operate at 60 percent of their workforce capacity and even individual sports like cycling around the neighborhood is allowed. 

I think I’m losing track of this dopey idea pertaining to the loosening up of restrictions on an ad-hoc basis by the powers-that-be. 

Anyway, I shouldn’t be surprised they're doing so because the backdoor government have no choice but to slowly open up bit by bit. After all, Covid numbers are not going to shrink any time soon – and they can’t keep Malaysians forever in a ‘lockdown’ under whatever guise they choose to call it.

And oh yes, workplace clusters are very much rampant.

I’m advocating a National Testing Plan, in place of the National Recovery Plan. At the risk of repeating myself, we should have done mass testing China-style across the country last year – but MOH have repeatedly dismissed it. 

The smartass Health D-G Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (right) favored the ‘targeted’ approach in Covid-19 testing. But even that is not done and he segued into ‘limited’ testing instead. 

FYI, there is a stark difference between ‘targeted testing’ and ‘limited testing’. 

A ‘targeted testing’ approach has to correspond to test outcomes and results. When the tests returns a positivity above 5 percent, the targeted testing procedure should automatically increase the number of tests to a sample size that will return and reduce the positivity to less than 5 percent. 

And if the positivity rate has effectively risen to nearly 10 percent, as it has over the past couple of days, the number of targeted samples to be tested has to effectively double as well, in order to meaningfully and effective record and determine the number of infected in the community. 

This is the essential step towards quarantine and isolation – and surely, it is logical to surmise that this approach, if executed properly, can prevent the infection rate from spiralling out of control, as it has over the last couple of months. 

MOH didn't do what is right. They still don't do what is right. I say, sack the whole lot of the twats and idiots in MOH including the Health Minister and his two lackeys – and get competent people in, who can really do the job!

#KerajaanBodoh #KerajaanGagal

Magic From Tan Gaik Hoon

Tan Gaik Hoon is a rare gem of an artist. A cultural prodigy. A virtuoso. 

I can admit I may be partial to anything that's related to Peranakan culture – but the fact is it's rare to find artwork that is more persnickety than hers. After all, she is a stickler for detail and she paints with fastidious care. Indeed, her paintings are remarkable for their accuracy. 

She tells me she even dresses up in a baju kebaya and poses alongside Peranakan artefact(s). Her hubby expertly takes a photograph and that becomes a precious visual reference.

I would readily go so far as to say she conjures magic. Instead of a wand, she picks a paintbrush.

As it frolics on a blank sheet, forms bathed in a myriad of colors emerge to take shape, the details dancing with self-assured grace. The length and breadth of the canvas soon surrenders itself to imagery that betrays its elaborate beauty. 

The product of the painter’s brilliance does leave me with a spellbinding impression that is both enticing and enchanting. Old World charm beckons. And the Peranakan universe reveals itself in order that I can fully savor it. 

Last Thursday, I had featured Tan Gaik Hoon – and showcased eight of her compositions. Today, I will spotlight another eight. 

To me, her Peranakan series is her magnum opus. And you should know she’s done well over 200 paintings since she started fourteen years ago. 

I readily acknowledge that I’m biased – so be it. Her art has doubtlessly bewitched me. I trust you feel the same way I do. 

Note: For any enquiries please go to her Facebook page, "Tan Gaik Hoon's Paintings” and leave her a message.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Pfizer's Covid Booster Shots for Israel

Calls for Covid booster shots are slowly getting louder! 

As more and more people are fully vaccinated in the West, attention has turned to whether or not booster vaccines will be required to maintain immunity and to protect against emerging variants of the Covid-19 virus. 

We do know that the current batch of vaccines trigger our immune systems to produce cells which protect against severe illness from Covid-19. These include “killer” T Cells, which recognise virus-infected cells and kill them, and so-called “B memory” cells that remember the virus and call the immune system into action should it attempt to infect a person after vaccination. The idea is that these B memory cells will stimulate an immune response that will neutralise the coronavirus before it is able to make you unwell, or at least severely unwell. 

On July 08, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that they plan to apply for emergency authorization for a booster dose of their vaccine, stating: “We continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within six to 12 months after full vaccination”. 

A day earlier, Canadian stem cell biologist and co-founder of Moderna, Derrick Rossi (right) told CTV News Channel that the body’s immune system is "primed by vaccination or primary infection" – however that immunity wanes over time if those systems are not challenged. 

"I think boosters are most likely going to be in the cards and evidence is pointing towards that so this is the evidence emerging out of Israel that a booster is almost certainly the way", Rossi elaborated. 

So far, research shows that the immune response from the existing Covid-19 vaccines remains strong for at least eight months (Science, February 05, 2021, Vol. 371, Issue 6529, eabf4063). 

It is, of course, important to remember that Covid vaccines only really got under way in December 2020, so data about their long-lasting effectiveness is still being gathered and it is likely that as time goes by, we may see that their effects last longer than this. 

Anyway, Israel announced last week that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to adults considered at risk, and specifically mentioned people with severe immunodeficiency – making it the first country in the world to do so. 

Covid cases in the country jumped to more than 400 per day in early July after staying in the single digits for most of June – yesterday, according to the Worldometer website, Israel recorded 1,491 cases. 

This is despite the fact that the country has been praised for executing one of the fastest vaccination campaigns in the world. More than 5 million of its 9 million citizens have been fully vaccinated against the disease. 

The bottom line is more real-world data is needed, and policy should be driven by data and not pushes from drug companies. 

The urgency right now is not getting boosters into the arms of those already fully vaccinated, but of getting those across the world who are yet to receive any vaccine at all a jab. We must not let this debate over whether boosters may be required lead to wealthier countries holding onto millions of doses “just in case”. The sooner the world is vaccinated, the less risk of variants emerging and the sooner we can all be safe from the virus. At least, that's humanity's hope.

In general, booster shots are used to increase the body's antibody response to a virus after the immune system has been prepped by the initial vaccination (e.g. tetanus shots). Additional vaccine doses can also help the body fight off different variants of a virus (like the yearly flu shot). 

Boosters, after all, are a shot of the same vaccine again, just given at a later date.

192 Million Cases and Football Season is Upon Us

Covid is still spreading far and wide – its tally is now 192 million cases.

Russia’s total caseload has passed six million. The country is facing a surge in cases that authorities have blamed on the Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations. 

And Mozambique becomes the one-hundredth country to join the C100K grouping.


Not to mention, Malaysia's Covid woes are continuing and we are now at #31 among countries that have the most number of infections todate. Cases have steadily advanced to 939,899 and deaths have reached 7,241. 

Yesterday, Celtic played a competitive home game in front of fans for the first time in 16 months – in a Champions League qualifying second round 1st leg against FC Midtjylland. 

The result was a 1-1 draw and the return leg takes place next Wednesday in Denmark, with the winners progressing to face PSV Eindhoven or Galatasaray in the third qualifying round. 

And Celtic will begin their Premiership season three days later away to Hearts. 

Also on the same day, Liverpool kickstarted their pre-season preparations with matches against FC Wacker Innsbruck and VFB Stuttgart – with the Reds coming away with a pair of 1-1 draws in Austria. 

Jürgen Klopp had fielded two different XIs and encouraged a high-intensity approach in the two 30-minute friendlies. 

He said the novel double-header is the first opportunity for his players to compete against opponents this summer – an initial step towards building up rhythm for 2021-22.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Case of the Empty Syringes

Yesterday, FMT carried a report of an individual who was jabbed with an empty syringe for his second Covid vaccine dose. This happened at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur three days ago. 

33-year-old Ling Kwang Chun said: “I felt the needle in my arm but noticed that the black piston did not move the entire time. The worker did not show him the syringe before and after the vaccination process, unlike the first time”. 

Ling said he had later informed staff at the center that he was sure that he had received an “empty jab” as he did not see any movement of the syringe piston. 

“They told me it was usually like that. I was stunned, because they should have alerted the other staff and helped me double check”, he added. 

He explained he did not take pictures or record any videos as there was a sign that warned vaccine recipients against using their cameras. Anyway, he made a police report:

The national Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force are already investigating three separate incidents surrounding the injection of vaccines that were alleged to be wrongly administered or where empty syringes were being used. 

The CITF said the first incident under investigation is said to have taken place on Saturday at the Sungai Petani Airport Camp drive-through vaccination centre in Kedah. They added that the said PPV is managed by military hospital officials from the camp and meant for Armed Forces personnel and their immediate family members. 

According to CITF on Monday, disciplinary action had been taken against the vaccination official. 

This particular case came to light because of a video circulating through instant messaging and social media that showed a woman being injected with a syringe that was not compressed by a medical official dressed in full PPE. 

In the second incident, the CITF said they are looking into a police report by an intended vaccine recipient that an empty syringe was used at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre PPV in Kuala Lumpur that also took place on Saturday. 

The third incident was another police report by a health services provider alleging that fake vaccine doses were used at the Bangi Avenue Convention Centre PPV in Selangor. I’m not sure when the incident occurred because no date was mentioned.

Previously, there have already been other media reports of the vaccination process not being properly administered, with recipients not getting the right dosage or not being injected with the vaccine at all. I highlight two such cases here: 

In May, an elderly woman had to be injected twice after it was discovered that her first vaccination was not complete with no vaccine actually injected into her. 

A video of her first vaccination process was uploaded on Facebook by her son and those who saw the video clip voiced their suspicion that the vaccination process was incomplete. 

The woman was given another jab when she returned to the vaccination center at Titiwangsa Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.  

Business developer Simon Ng lodged a police report on July 06 claiming he had been injected with an empty syringe at Banting Hospital in Banting, Selangor. According to him, he only knew that he was given an empty injection after checking his video recording of the vaccination process that he went through. 

He added that he was only given a second shot after confronting the medical assistant who was tasked to jab him. 

The Selangor Health Department, in a viral video, dismissed the man’s claim. Their director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman (right) was reported as saying that it was quite “impossible” for anyone to be injected with an empty syringe. 

And yet, the complainant had passed police a copy of the video (Star Online, July 10, 2021). The "impossible" had become "possible".

I spied upon another news report of a Sarawakian who had claimed his father was injected with an empty syringe at the Sibu Indoor Stadium PPV. Sibu CITF did confirm on July 13 that the patient had to injected twice because the first jab was a sham (DayakDaily, July 13, 2021). 

Following the incident, retraining for all staff was undertaken. 

I've come across many videos on Facebook where clearly, the vaccine recipients were seeminly jabbed with empty syringes. 

Besides, I also wonder if these PPVs that are administering Covid vaccines do actually follow protocols. I wonder even more when I read that we are racing to vaccinate as many people in the shortest possible time – as if we’re chasing a Guinness world record! 

Also in Sarawak, family members of 57-year-old Choo Fui Kian, who died after receiving a Covid jab at Miri Hospital in Miri on June 26, have appealed to MOH to release the autopsy results – the post-mortem was done on June 27. 

Choo’s daughter Sim Geok Wei also lodged a police report after the incident. 

In Malaysia, you can't be too careful! Things are not always what they seem!