On top of a robust testing and contract tracing system, vaccination will be a key way we can fight against COVID-19. Singapore has been progressively rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination programme over the last few months. By the end of 2021, all eligible people in Singapore will be able to receive the vaccine. Having high vaccination coverage would mean achieving herd immunity against COVID-19, as well as looser restrictions, such as for travel. Here are 10 of the most commonly asked questions and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccines, answered.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Multiple safety checks are in place before the vaccines are rolled-out in Singapore. Only vaccines that comply with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines and meet strict standards of safety, quality and efficacy will be used.
How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?
The vaccine trains our immune system to recognise the virus and produce antibodies to fight them. Singapore has signed agreements to purchase 2 types of vaccines: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines (by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), and inactivated vaccine (by Sinovac).
- mRNA vaccines contain information from the virus that gives our cells instructions to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus, so that our body can recognise and build antibodies to fight the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine.
- Inactivated vaccine technology uses weakened or inactive viral particles to stimulate our body to produce an immune response to the virus
Would the mRNA vaccines permanently alter my DNA and be passed down to my descendants?
The mRNA vaccine does not alter your DNA, as the virus does not enter the nucleus of the cells where our DNA lies. mRNA degrades quickly and is unable to integrate into the human genome.
Are there any side-effects to the vaccines?
Most side effects are mild or moderate, and usually get better within a few days. Some people may experience side-effects such as fever, redness and swelling at the injection site. These are common and expected as part of our body’s natural response to immunisation.
Is it compulsory to vaccinate? Is it free?
Vaccination will be on a voluntary basis with priority given to frontline and healthcare workers, followed by the elderly and vulnerable. Vaccinations will be free for all Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines halal?
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)’s position is that COVID-19 vaccines are permissible for Muslim use. Please refer to MUIS’ religious position on the COVID-19 vaccine here.
Should I take the vaccine if I have allergies?
In general, a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine is a rare. People who received vaccination are monitored for 30 minutes after the injection to ensure that any adverse reactions are detected and treated. Those with a history of severe allergic reactions should not receive the vaccine.
Who is not suitable to take the vaccine?
Children under 16, pregnant women, people with allergies to drugs or food, and those with compromised immune systems are advised not to receive the vaccine currently, until more data on safety and efficacy is available.
The number of community cases in Singapore is low. Why is it important for me to be vaccinated?
A vaccine is a preventive measure. While Singapore currently has a low rate of local transmission of the virus, we remain vulnerable to the threat of a surge in cases. Nationwide vaccination can help us to achieve a good community immunity against COVID-19, reduce the chances of the virus spreading, and allow the country to return to normalcy sooner.
Where can I find more information about Singapore’s COVID-19 vaccination programme?
You can visit the Ministry of Health page here for the latest updates and important information on the COVID-19 vaccination.
For those worried about their health, Doctor Anywhere offers COVID-19 tests at our clinics, island-wide.