3 common misconceptions about Covid-19 vaccines among seniors in Singapore

Seniors aged 70 and above were the first group to be offered vaccination against Covid-19 in Singapore, but have the lowest take-up rate. Here is a look at three misconceptions about the vaccines -

1. Covid-19 vaccines were developed so quickly, they cannot be safe. Surely some shortcuts must have been taken.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has said that there are four key reasons why Covid-19 vaccines were developed so quickly.

First, vaccine manufacturers invested a significant amount of resources to ramp up production.

Second, strong global partnerships between international organisations, governments, researchers and manufacturers allowed vaccines to be developed quickly.

Third, given the pandemic, the recruitment for and conducting of randomised controlled trials were carried out more quickly than in the absence of a pandemic.

Fourth, the trials for many of the vaccines involved phases that took place concurrently, allowing for data to be produced in a shorter time.

Safety and scientific or ethical integrity have not been compromised, and no shortcuts have been taken, but the unique circumstances and the four factors allowed accelerated development, said MOH.

2. mRNA technology is very new and will change your genetic makeup.

In a podcast in February, Professor Sarah Fortune, an immunologist from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the United States, said that the mRNA platform has been in the pipeline for "decades".

It has been used in the past for infectious disease vaccines and cancer vaccines, she said.

MOH has said that mRNA vaccines cannot interfere with or modify human DNA.

Instead, the mRNA will degrade completely within 48 hours of vaccination.

3. Since the vaccines were developed only recently, there is no way of telling their long-term side effects.

The United States' Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that serious side effects that could cause long-term health problems are "extremely unlikely" following any vaccination, including Covid-19 vaccination.

The CDC said that, historically, side effects of vaccines usually happen within six weeks of receiving a dose. Out of the millions of people who have received Covid-19 vaccines, no long-term side effects have been detected, said the CDC.