Covid-19 vaccines are the current talk of the town amid authorities’ approval of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, in a possible lifeline in our fight against the virus.
However, there is still some scepticism towards the vaccines and whether they’re safe.
The Ministry of Health (MOH)’s chief health scientist told The Straits Times (ST) that the vaccines would help in achieving herd immunity in the population.
Around 60-70% of the population should be immune to Covid-19 to qualify as herd immunity.
But because we’re unsure if vaccines will prevent transmissions currently, we’ll still have to wear masks even after getting vaccinated.
Professor Tan Chorh Chuan told ST that herd immunity will indirectly reduce the risk of people catching the virus.
However, this will require 80% of the population to be vaccinated, as a prudent amount. Ordinarily, around 60-70% of the population should be immune.
This estimate comes from assuming that vaccines are 90% effective against Covid-19, meaning we’d protect about 72% of the population.
Prof Tan says this will reduce clusters and protect our loved ones as fewer people will catch the virus.
Prof Tan confirmed with ST that senior citizens 60 years old and above will get priority in vaccination.
MOH is still planning the roll-out as there’s almost 1 million people in this age bracket.
However, he said it is likely that those in nursing homes will get priority.
Earlier in the year, some nursing homes became Covid-19 clusters and unfortunately, a few of the 29 deaths here were nursing home residents.
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However, tests are inconclusive as to whether the vaccine can stop or reduce Covid-19 transmission, he noted.
As such, we’ll likely have to continue to wear masks and observe safe management measures.
This will help protect those who can’t get vaccinated due to allergies, their age, or other medical conditions.
There are at least 3 instances of people getting severe allergic reactions after being vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Authorities in the United Kingdom have advised that those with a history of allergies are strongly encouraged to not get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
While some will experience minor side effects from the vaccine, it was tested to be 95% effective and the side effects go away with time.
Although being vaccinated doesn’t mean we can be complacent, the number of cases will likely reduce due to immunity.
This means we may be able to lead more normal lives once most of the population gets vaccinated.
At the same time, because some people are unable to be vaccinated, we still have to keep them in mind and practice safe distancing measures.
Prof Tan and the authorities’ stance is that as many people as possible should be vaccinated, so that we can protect those who are vulnerable — not just ourselves. And vaccination is free too.
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Featured image by MS News.
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