Students excused from physical activity for one week after getting Covid-19 vaccine: MOE

MOE has also advised all parents and students to be mindful of any potential side effects from the vaccination. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Students at schools and institutes of higher learning have been excused from physical activity for one week after receiving the first and second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, a Ministry of Education (MOE) spokesman said on Tuesday (July 6).

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the spokesman said this has been the case since late June, prior to the start of Term 3 on June 28.

The Ministry's statement came a day after the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccinations recommended that anyone getting an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, in particular adolescents and younger men, should avoid any exercise or strenuous physical activity for a week after either dose of the vaccine.

On Tuesday, the MOE spokesman said that all physical education and co-curricular activity teachers are currently checking on the vaccination status of students before the start of physical activities.

MOE has also advised all parents and students to be mindful of any potential side effects from the vaccination.

Students who develop chest pain, shortness of breath or an abnormal heartbeat should seek medical attention promptly, said the spokesman.

"MOE will continue to work with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to closely monitor students who have experienced adverse reactions after the vaccination, so that appropriate care is given to these students promptly," he added.

The expert committee's recommendation on Monday came as HSA released its third Covid-19 vaccine safety update which said that the authority had received 12 reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in individuals following vaccination with the mRNA vaccines.

Pericarditis is the inflammation of tissue surrounding the heart, while myocarditis refers to the inflammation of the heart muscle.

Seven of the cases involved males aged below 30 years old, which is higher than expected for this age group. Half the cases occurred after the first dose and the remainder after the second one.

The committee noted that there had also been a case of a 16-year-old youth who suffered cardiac arrest shortly after taking part in a strenuous weightlifting session. This occurred six days after he received his first dose of the mRNA vaccine.

Outlining its new recommendation, the committee said: "While most persons with vaccine-related myocarditis observed locally and internationally have mild symptoms and make an uneventful recovery, it is possible that the condition may be aggravated by factors or strenuous activities that may affect the heart."

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