Singapore—Madam Ho Ching, chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings and wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, took to Facebook on Friday (Jan 29) to explain the side effects and reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine, which seems to affect younger adults more than older ones.
The country’s vaccination roll-out is in full swing, with more than 113,000 people having received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Jan 28).
From those who have received the vaccine, 432 “adverse event reports” have been reported. The majority of these are general reactions to vaccines, such as injection site pain and swelling, fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, giddiness, nausea and allergic reactions, which resolved on their own in a few days.
However, the MOH added that there were three reported cases of anaphylaxis, or the quick onset of severe allergic reactions. All three cases were of people in their 20s and 30s who have a history of allergies.
After the dose was administered, they “developed multiple symptoms such as rash, breathlessness, lip swelling, throat tightness and giddiness,” MOH said.
In her Facebook post, Mdm Ho sought to shed some more light on this.
“Fewer of the older folks have bothersome side effects, and their side effects are milder,” she wrote.
“Having said that, side effects may be unexpectedly severe for younger folks, especially those in their 20s or 30s.”
Mdm Ho wrote that one young lady in her 30s had “a very bad headache 1 week after the vaccination,” but this was quickly relieved when a doctor injected a painkiller.
“The most serious side effects would be anaphylaxis, a serious form of allergy where the whole face could be swollen, and the throat and air passage could be swollen, causing breathing difficulties,” she added.
She also assured readers that all vaccination centres have standby medical support staff to respond to cases of anaphylaxis immediately.
Mdm Ho wrote that anaphylaxis is “a known side effect for many common vaccines” which occurs in one in a million seasonal flu vaccines doses.
The anaphylaxis that occurred in Singapore recently is “10 times more frequent than for flu jabs, but still not common.”
Mdm Ho also wrote that there are times when severe side effects may happen even as late as one to two weeks after the injections, with one of her young friends saying she had joint pain a full fortnight after her shot.
She also asked that people who receive the vaccine report the side effects they experience, for monitoring purposes and “perhaps help MOH to develop an advisory or protocol to help mitigate these side effects since we are vaccinating at scale.”
And for older adults, the process is relatively painless, with some of Mdm Ho’s friend telling her they did not even experience any pain at the site of their infections.
Side effects may actually be a good sign “that the immune system is alert and fighting hard,” she added.
Mdm Ho also shared a video of PM Lee getting his second Covid dose, which he received on Friday morning (Jan 29).
“With that I have completed the full vaccination regimen.
Just like my first jab, it was quick and painless. The doctors watched me for 30 minutes afterwards, just in case. Happy to share that I feel fine,” wrote the Prime Minister.
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