Singapore monitors patients vaccinated against coronavirus

Gurdip Singh
·3-min read

Singapore, Feb 20 (PTI) Singapore will continue to observe COVID-19 vaccinated patients to look out for side effects, collect this data and refine the criteria for the inoculation programme following the death of an elderly man after receiving his first dose of Pfizer vaccine recently, The Straits Times reported on Saturday.

Commenting on the death, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Saturday, 'I want to assure Singaporeans that we will continue to monitor data not only locally, but also internationally, so that it is a continuous process that will refine our processes and criteria to ensure that it is safe.' The 72-year-old man was admitted to the intensive care unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and had a medical history of cancer, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.

Gan underlined the hospital's initial assessment that there was no indication that the patient's cardiac arrest was due to the vaccination.

Everyone undergoing vaccination has to go through a thorough questionnaire to ensure that they do not have a contra-indication. A contra-indication is such as a medical condition or symptom, that is a reason for a person to not receive a particular treatment.

After the vaccination, everyone will be observed for 30 minutes. At the end of the half-hour period, those vaccinated will go through another round of questions to ensure that they are well, the minister said.

The medical team present will also give advice to patients about any adverse reaction, and where to get help.

'Whether (these incidents) are related to the (COVID) vaccination or not, we want to know if there are any such incidents so that we can investigate in-depth and better understand the situation,” Gan said.

Meanwhile, Singapore continues to be on the lookout for more vaccine options even though shipments for the approved vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna - are coming in now.

Having more than one approved vaccine provides the country with some sort of insurance as Singapore will not need to rely on a single supplier, Education Minister and co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said on Friday.

A good supply of vaccines will largely determine the rate of the nation's vaccination programme, The Straits Times quoted Wong as saying.

'We are pushing out the vaccines as soon as we get the supplies, so the pace at which we can proceed with our vaccination programme really is contingent on our supply, more than anything else,' he said.

But supply uncertainties remain given high global demand, Wong cautioned.

Supply bottlenecks could also be caused by a stoppage in the manufacturing plant, or an export restriction, or some other logistical issues, he noted.

'But we are happy now that we not only have Pfizer, we also have Moderna, so we have some diversification benefits. The supplies have come in February, and we are expecting another supply coming through every month,' Wong said.

Apart from Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Singapore has also made advanced purchase agreements with China's Sinovac vaccine.

However, Sinovac is yet to be approved as more data is still pending for the Health Sciences Authority to ensure it is safe, Wong said.

'Beyond Sinovac, we continue to look at other options, and so that search for other vaccine options continues. We are not stopping at just three vaccines,' he said.