Singapore — During Monday’s (Jan 10) Parliamentary sitting, Leader of the Opposition (LO) Pritam Singh and other MPs raised questions about vaccinations and about Vaccination Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) with regard to children below the age of 12.
Mr Singh shared that some parents were apprehensive over the administration of mRNA vaccines for their children. Contextually, he explained that these parents were not anti-vaccination per se, with some of them taking mRNA vaccines on their own. He added that the parent’s concerns were visceral ones and about the long-term effects on them.
“To that extent, Ministry of Health (MOH) allow such parents to wait until non-mRNA, traditional, protein-based, vaccines are approved for their children’s inoculation to give them more choice and to assuage their concerns?” he asked.
He continued: “One such non-mRNA vaccine company, Novavax, submitted data for approval under Singapore’s Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) on Nov 22.
Has Novavax or any other non-mRNA vaccine maker submitted data for the authorisation for use for children above the age of 12, and if so, when can these vaccines be expected to be introduced in the national vaccination programme?”
Mr Singh also asked if Novavax would, in future, be added to Singapore’s vaccination programme.
In response, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said: “The Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine has gone through extensive clinical trials, and during the clinical trials, it was shown to be safe and effective. Specifically for myocarditis, which is what most parents are concerned about in children, there are about 8.5 million already vaccinated in the US and the incidence rate is about one in a million in the US”.
He added: “You have to balance this against the downside of getting infection. If infected, chances of myocarditis is 450 in a million and there are also other effects such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) which can make the child really sick”.
Given the circumstances, Mr Ong said that he suggested parents should get their children vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine.
“I think it is the right thing to do now”, he noted.
“On the question of Novavax – it is being assessed by the Health Sciences Authority. I think we need to let the scientists do their work. And I think we should consider putting it into our national vaccination programme”, he added. /TISG
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