Forum: Don't ignore mental health of unvaccinated, especially youngsters

Straits Times senior health correspondent Salma Khalik said vaccination and booster jabs are viable ways to delay the spread of Covid-19 and reduce hospitalisations and deaths to hasten a return to normalcy for Singapore (Why it makes sense to sharpen differentiation, based on vaccination status, Oct 11).

As measures are tightened for unvaccinated people who are disallowed from dining out or entering shopping malls, the social cost of alienating a section of our society must be considered.

This group includes individuals with an allergic reaction to the vaccine and those with health conditions who are genuinely concerned about the side effects of vaccination, as well as teenagers whose parents are worried about reports of heart inflammation that may arise from mRNA vaccines.

These concerns are valid and should not be brushed off. Low risk does not mean no risk.

In the unlikely event of a mishap, the cost for individuals affected and for parents of teenagers is real.

My youngest child, 12, and second youngest, 16, were scheduled for their second non-mRNA vaccination jab next week.

However, we were informed recently by the clinic that it is no longer administering these vaccinations for young people.

My children have just sat their PSLE and GCE N-level exam and were very much looking forward to some normalcy after many months of intensive home-based exam preparation.

For my adolescents and me now, we cannot even look forward to an occasional visit to the mall's supermarket, the occasional movie or a hawker centre meal.

In the fervour to resume normalcy in the quickest possible time through differentiated policies, society's cohesion and the mental health of those who are unvaccinated should not be ignored.

Tan Sek Jen