I am glad that Singapore has obtained enough vaccines for the population to be vaccinated (Free, voluntary vaccinations for all S'poreans, long-term residents, Dec 15).
It is heartening that the Health Sciences Authority has evaluated the safety of the vaccine thoroughly and the safety profile seems satisfactory.
It is also reassuring that the safety, efficacy and long-term side effects are being monitored closely by the manufacturers and our own health authorities.
In the light of all these, it seems reasonable to embark on mass vaccination without too much anxiety.
It must be noted that allergic reactions can occur with any vaccine, even with vaccines that have been in the market for a long time.
The fact that some people get adverse reactions does not mean that it is unwise to be vaccinated.
There seems to be news going around that many people are not willing to be vaccinated for fear of side effects and other personal reasons. This may act as an obstacle in the quest to control the pandemic.
What needs to be stressed is that at vaccination centres, there should be sufficient facilities and trained personnel to deal with anaphylactic reactions, and systems in place for the close supervision of people with a history of allergic reactions.
Also, the authorities should look into the medical history of people who are being vaccinated and check on those who have a past history of allergic reactions to various medications and those who are allergic to various things such as food and dust. For these individuals, vaccination is still possible but extra precautions may be necessary.
If mass vaccination promises success in controlling the pandemic, some allergic reactions should not halt this process; instead, the authorities should ensure all necessary precautions are taken to prevent severe adverse reactions that may take place, as with all other vaccines.
Quek Koh Choon (Dr)