Avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks after Covid-19 vaccine jabs, instead of 1 week, says expert panel

The new advisory will allow more persons to safely complete their vaccination regime, said the expert committee.
The new advisory will allow more persons to safely complete their vaccination regime, said the expert committee.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Those who have just received their Covid-19 vaccine shots should avoid strenuous exercise such as lifting heavy weights for two weeks instead of one, particularly if they are young, the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination said on Thursday (Sept 16).

Persons who experienced mild allergic reactions after they received a dose of an mRNA vaccine may now be eligible for their second and subsequent doses of the same vaccine, the committee added in its updated advisory.

The Ministry of Health said the expert committee has made these recommendations having reviewed further vaccine safety data.

Local and overseas data continue to show a small risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis, with cases predominantly occurring in younger persons after their second dose, said the expert committee. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is an inflammation of the heart membrane. 

Both conditions occur more often in men than in women.

"While most of the cases reported previously had occurred within one week of vaccination, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) had also started to receive reports of some cases that occurred within the second week of vaccination," it said.

"Myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination are rare, but occurrence tends to be higher in young males aged 30 years and below."

This is why it is now advising that those who have just been vaccinated avoid strenuous physical activity for two weeks, it said.

"During this time, they should seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations."

People who developed mild skin reactions after they received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine and were deemed ineligible for further shots can now take their second dose, given additional international evidence around the safety of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines, said the expert committee.

They include those who had mild skin reactions more than four hours after vaccination but did not have other symptoms; those who had non-specific skin symptoms such as itching without a rash or a red patch beyond the injection site; and those who experienced a flare-up of an underlying skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Tuesday that about 7,100 people had allergic reactions after taking their first dose of a Covid-19 mRNA vaccine. 

They had previously been invited to complete their vaccination with two doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac under a dedicated public health programme, with 3,900 expressing interest.

The new advisory will allow more persons, particularly those with minor or non-specific past reactions, to safely complete their vaccination regime, said the expert committee.

"Persons with the above conditions are encouraged to return to their previous vaccination sites in order to be reassessed for eligibility to complete their vaccination," it said.