Forum: Take stock of cumulative experience with Covid-19 to move forward

The Ministry of Health’s response, “Take bivalent vaccine as additional dose to ensure higher protection against future variants” (Jan 19), to the article, “Most people in S’pore well protected against severe Covid-19: Expert” (Jan 16), adds some confusion to the current recommendations on vaccination against Covid-19.

I am inclined to agree with Duke-NUS Medical School’s Professor Ooi Eng Eong’s position – that people in Singapore who have received one mRNA booster shot are well protected against severe Covid-19, and that the benefit of an additional jab is minuscule for most – given his credentials and the clarity of his comments.

The world has gone through three years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Billions of people have been vaccinated against Covid-19, been infected with the coronavirus, or both.

There is now a large amount of data, particularly data from meta-analyses of multicentre studies, that gives us some insight into the serious and less serious adverse effects arising from Covid-19 vaccines.

Piecemeal information and occasional updates from the local media and a few experts serve little benefit to the community’s understanding of Covid-19, the vaccines being used and the programmes being recommended.

Is it not time now for us to take stock of the cumulative local and worldwide experience with Covid-19 infections and vaccines in order to move forward?

Our doctors in public and private hospitals, along with family physicians, have looked after Covid-19 patients as well as patients who may have experienced adverse effects from the vaccines.

A platform for open, transparent discussion between doctors, scientists and other experts is necessary.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)

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