Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Friday (22 January) said that a number of “adverse events” have been reported by people who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore, but the majority of them are “very mild”.
Speaking at a virtual COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce press conference yesterday, Prof Mak noted that such reports are still being compiled for submission to the COVID-19 vaccination expert panel for review and recommendations.
“As soon as we’re able to get those recommendations out and we have organised and categorised these adverse events, we will be then able to publicise and inform you what those adverse events are,” he said.
The associate professor, however, did not reveal the number of adverse events that have been reported in the country.
“Most of these adverse events are very mild. They generally are local reactions that take place that includes pain, redness, swelling, soreness of the muscles where an injection have taken place,” Prof Mak explained.
He added that some had previously reported they experienced fatigue, more generalised muscles aches and fever after getting the vaccine.
“Many of these symptoms, in fact, reflect the body’s immune system responding to the vaccine dose that has been injected in them.
“And [there] will be some that may have more serious side effects, which include allergic reactions of a variety of different grades of severity,” said Prof Mak.
He went on to explain the process for tracking such adverse events.
“This goes through the institutions which perform the vaccinations, as well as other doctors who may see patients who have had the vaccination, and have had any adverse effects,” he said.
These reports are then sent to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), which has a pharmacovigilance programme in place to receive and process them.
Prof Mak added that expert panels within the HSA will review the reports to determine the severity of the adverse events.
“And there are also reports that will be sent to the Ministry of Health where we will also consult our experts to determine whether or not we need to adjust our list of indications of precautions that need to be taken for vaccination,” he added.
As of Friday, more than 60,000 people in Singapore have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The number is expected to increase substantially in the coming weeks, as reported by The Straits Times.
The Government will start COVID-19 vaccination for senior residents in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar from next Wednesday (27 January) onwards.
Between 5,000 to 10,000 senior citizens in each of the pilot areas will be invited for vaccinations to start.
Over in the United States, health officials reported that allergic reactions are occurring at a rate of 11.1 per 1 million vaccinations.
Yahoo! News Singapore’s report highlighted that in comparison, flu vaccines cause about 1.3 such reactions per million doses administered there.
Netizens call for “full transparency” by MOH following reports of adverse events from Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination in Singapore
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of Yahoo! News Singapore‘s and Mothership‘s Facebook posts, many netizens have called for “full transparency” by the MOH, following the reports of “adverse events” from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination recorded in Singapore.
Some even commented on the HardwareZone forum urging the MOH to “come clean” with the number of such reports.