Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara is offering a quadrivalent flu vaccine for FREE, but some people are complaining that their vaccines are expiring soon and made from dog cells.
Find out what is going on, and whether the Thomson Hospital flu vaccine is made from dog cells, and if it will work well even if it is expiring soon!
Thomson Hospital Offering FREE Flu Vaccine?
On 19 June 2020, Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara announced that they are offering a free flu vaccine as a CSR initiative from 20 June to 27 June 2020.
Every day, the public can drop by from 9 AM until 4 PM for their free flu vaccine – limited to 200 patients a day.
FREE Thomson Hospital Flu Vaccine : Should You Take It?
Some netizens are stirring up controversy, after one of Thomson Hospital’s doctors posted about their CSR initiative on Facebook, saying that it was a rare opportunity to receive a free flu vaccine, which isn’t cheap.
They criticised the offer, saying that the flu vaccine was going to expire soon, and that it contained dog cells, which is haram for Muslims.
So let’s find out what the FACTS really are about the free flu vaccine that Thomson Hospital is giving away…
Fact #1 : It Is The SKYCellflu Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine
Based on the picture that Dr. Mohamed Al-Hadi shared, it looks like Thomson Hospital is giving away the SKYCellflu Quadrivalent flu vaccine from South Korea.
This vaccine is manufactured from a cell-based culture, and offers protection against the four influenza viruses most likely to cause illness in the current season.
Fact #2 : The 2020 SKYCellflu Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine Expires On 27 June
According to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency of Malaysia, all 15,000 doses of SKYCellflu Quadrivalent flu vaccines imported into Malaysia in February 2020 will expire on 27 June 2020.
That expiry date is not based on when the vaccine was manufactured, but when the WHO predicts that a new formulation may be needed (see Fact #3).
If you want “fresh” vaccines, then pay for them in February or March like what we did.
Fact #3 : The Flu Vaccine Does NOT Go Bad When It Expires
Flu vaccines are not like packaged foods. Their expiry date is not an indication of when they are about to go “bad”.
Rather, their expiry date tells doctors when they should start using a different vaccine formulation, for better protection against the constantly mutating flu viruses and changing virus circulation.
As long as the flu vaccine administered has not reached its expiration date – it is the formulation that offers the best protection you can get for that flu season.
Fact #4 : An Expired Flu Vaccine Will Still Work
When a flu vaccine reaches its expiry date, it doesn’t stop working. It is just presumed to be less effective, as the circulating viruses may have changed.
As the CDC notes, “Vaccination with an expired influenza vaccine might not protect against influenza infection because different influenza virus strains can be included in the vaccine each year; in addition, protection against viruses included in the vaccine could wane if vaccine potency decreases over time“.
The fact is – even an expired flu vaccine will offer some protection, which is better than no influenza vaccine at all.
Fact #5 : Those Are Perfectly Good Flu Vaccines
The SKYCellflu Quadrivalent flu vaccines Thomson Hospital is giving away are perfectly good to use, as long as they are administered by 26 June 2020.
Yes, they are giving away something that will no longer be of value to them from 27 June 2020 onwards, but that doesn’t mean that they are cheating anyone.
They are giving away perfectly good flu vaccines that cost them money. So what if they want to gain some goodwill or publicity to make up for those losses?
Fact #6 : Thomson Hospital Staff + Doctors Received Them Too
Dr. Mohamed Al-Hadi also pointed out that Thomson Hospital gave their staff and doctors first priority, administering their flu vaccines on the very first day.
Do you think they would risk the health of their staff and doctors if they did not believe the flu vaccine was safe and effective?
Fact #7 : SKYCellFlu Quadrivalent Flu Vaccines Are Not Made From Dog Cells
The SKYCellflu Quadrivalent flu vaccine is not made from dog cells. Rather, the influenza viruses are GROWN in MDCK (Madin-Darby Canine Kidney) cells.
The influenza viruses are then harvested and purified before being inactivated. No dog cells of any kind are present in the vaccine.
Using MDCK cells provides these advantages over using fertilised chicken eggs :
- faster vaccine manufacturing
- no egg allergy risk
- no egg-adapted changes, allowing for better immune response by the body
Whether such a vaccine is acceptable for religious or moral reasons, we will leave it to every individual to decide.
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