The Covid-19 Vaccine: What You Need To Know And Why You Should Get Vaccinated Quickly

To achieve herd immunity, everyone who is medically eligible should be vaccinated.
13 January 2021

To get vaccinated, or not?

The light at the end of the tunnel grows larger. Last week, Singapore launched its nationwide drive to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine to the population. Leading by example, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, emphasising that “It’s painless, it’s effective and it’s important.”

What’s The Plan?

To immunise as many individuals of the general population as possible, the Singapore government is presently footing the bill for all Singaporeans and long-term residents in the country, with the following groups eligible: 

  • Singaporeans
  • Permanent Residents
  • Employment Pass holders
  • S-Pass holders
  • Work Permit holders
  • Foreign Domestic Workers
  • Dependent Pass holders
  • Long Term Visit Pass holders
  • Student Pass holders

The program is voluntary and will be rolled out in phases. Priority will be given to segments of the population’s most vulnerable, with healthcare and other front liners already receiving their shots.  The government projects that all Singaporeans can get a vaccine – if they want – before the end of 2021. More information on how to schedule your vaccination will be provided.

Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in Singapore. Two other candidates from China (Sinovac) and the U.S.A. (Moderna), are pending approval. Individuals, unfortunately, do not have a choice regarding which dose one receives under the program. 

Am I Medically Eligible For The Covid-19 Vaccine?

Pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and those under 16 years old are advised not to receive the vaccine yet until more data is available. Individuals with a history of severe allergic or anaphylactic reactions should also avoid getting vaccinated if possible. Those with a known medical history should declare this to their doctors as there may be a need to match vaccines for them. 

“But I’ve heard…”: Debunking Covid-19 Vaccine Rumours

Much of the internet folklore about the vaccine is scientifically unfounded.. No, it does not alter your DNA. Neither does it implant microchips into your brain. We recommend readers to only trust reputable sources, such as Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), for information. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been tested with a 95% efficacy rate in lab settings. Simply put, this means a healthy human being who has not been exposed to the virus has a 95% chance of being immune after the process. As of now there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine is less effective against newer, mutated strains of the disease – specifically the new H.1.1.7 strain from the U.K. which is proving to be far more contagious.

Some common side-effects include fever, redness, soreness or swelling of the administered region. However, fret not, this is your immune system’s natural response, an indication that it is working to build immunity against the virus. 

Why Should I Get Vaccinated?

Vaccination is one of the key strategies allowing Singapore to re-open further, facilitating more social activities and help to recover the economy. The Ministry of Health projects that an 80% vaccination rate is required to hit the gold-standard herd immunity.

At the end of the day, the vaccination protects us, our loved ones and those who are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical reasons. While the world waits in hope that international travel will resume in 2021, vaccinations may also be a mandatory requirement to move across borders.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has high efficacy with a safety profile consistent with other established and registered vaccines. At present, the benefits outweigh the risks, Singapore citizens and residents are therefore encouraged to get vaccinated if at all, possible.

By Thomas Soh Zhengjie, January 2021 / Images: Jumpstory.

Like this? Read about more ways to Live Well in SG, and read our digital magazine.

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