A woman in Malaysia was injected with an empty syringe when going for her COVID-19 vaccine, the government has confirmed.
The government has said it was “human negligence” after a nurse admitted she had mistakenly administered the “empty vaccination” due to exhaustion.
Two other people in the northern state of Kedah were given an extra COVID-19 vaccine dose as it was unclear if they had also been injected with empty syringes, science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
Cases and deaths in Malaysia have been rising since the end of June
“Even if there’s one single error, that’s one error too many,” he said.
“So for those cases where there was human negligence, I apologise to them. And of course we will do better.”
The nurse is now facing disciplinary action.
A total of 13 people have lodged police reports claiming to have been given empty vaccines but most have been found to be false or inconclusive, the minister said.
People receiving the vaccine in Malaysia will now be required to have it recorded to prevent a repeat, Mr Khairy added.
“I would like to advise the public to understand the context of these cases and to ensure that we preserve the integrity of the national immunisation program,” said Mr Khairy.
“And also the integrity of the thousands of nurses, doctors and frontliners who are risking their lives vaccinating at a rate of half a million a day.”
Malaysia has given out just over 16 million COVID doses, the health ministry said on Friday.
As of Thursday, 15.6% of the nearly 32 million-strong population were fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccines.
The government is aiming to have all adults fully vaccinated by October as cases are now at their highest since the pandemic started after continuing to rise since the end of June.
Hospitals are overflowing, with patients having to be treated on the floor, despite further national lockdowns being imposed.
The situation is similar across southeast Asia, with Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand showing the same sharp increase in cases since the end of June.