PSA Staff Tests Positive For Covid-19 A Week After Getting 2nd Vaccine Dose

Singapore’s public vaccination programme is in full swing, and thousands have already gotten at least 1 dose of the vaccine by now.

However, it will take some time for our Covid-19 nightmare to be over. That’s because even those who’ve received 2 doses of the vaccine can’t let their guard down just yet.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has said it’ll take a few weeks to build up immunity after completing vaccination.

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That point was made when a PSA Corporation staff tested positive for Covid-19 despite having had his 2nd vaccine dose just a week earlier.

PSA Corp staff a new community case on 25 Feb

In a news release on Thursday (25 Feb), MOH announced 10 new Covid-19 cases.

2 of them were community cases, 1 of whom is a lashing specialist at PSA Corp Ltd.

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According to MyCareersFuture, a lashing specialist handles vessel berthing and unberthing operations, including lashing and unlashing of containers onboard vessels.

Lashing specialist vaccinated on 22 Jan & 14 Feb

The 33-year-old man, who’s a work-permit holder from Malaysia, received his 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine on 22 Jan, said MOH.

He possibly got his jab when the vaccination programme of frontline workers from the aviation and maritime industry kicked off in Jan.

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His 2nd dose was administered on 14 Feb.

Based on this, MOH said this accounts for his positive serology test result, as he had likely started producing antibodies due to the vaccination.

He tested positive on 21 Feb

Although the lashing specialist had completed his 2 vaccine doses, he still got tested for Covid-19 on 21 Feb.

This was as part of the Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) of frontline workers.

The next day, his pooled test result was positive for the virus.

On Tuesday (23 Feb), he was tested again individually, and his infection was confirmed on Wednesday (24 Feb).

He was sent to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and deemed as Case 60448.

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So far, he has not showed any symptoms, and last tested negative on 13 Feb.

Likely infected before vaccine protection kicked in

So, many may wonder how the lashing specialist got infected, given that he completed his full dose of vaccine a week before?

MOH explained that he was probably infected before the vaccine protection kicked in.

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That’s because it typically takes “a few weeks” for the immunity to be built up after the 2 doses of vaccination are completed.

US nurse tested positive 8 days after vaccination

This isn’t the 1st time a vaccinated person has been infected with Covid-19.

In the United States, a nurse in California got his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on 18 Dec.

However, he subsequently felt symptoms of the virus, and tested positive on 26 Dec.

Do note, however, that he had gotten only 1 dose of the vaccine.

Immunity takes time to build

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Pfizer said that based on studies, the vaccine provides some protection within 10-14 days of the first dose.

This will then be significantly boosted after the second dose, hence the need for a 2-dose vaccination.

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Dr Christian Rambers, an infectious disease specialist in San Diego, told ABC News the nurse’s case simply demonstrates that immunity will take time to build.

He said protection will be around 50% after the 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The 2nd dosage is needed to get that number up to 95%.

2nd community case is tuition teacher

The other community case recorded on Thursday (25 Feb) is a tuition teacher.

The 27-year-old woman is a permanent resident, and works at the Berries World of Learning School in Junction Nine (18 Yishun Avenue 9).

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As a precaution, the branch in Junction Nine will be closed for cleaning till Sunday (28 Feb).

Teacher got runny nose on 23 Feb

The woman developed a runny nose on Tuesday (23 Feb), and thankfully sought treatment at a clinic the next day.

Upon testing for Covid-19, her result came back positive on Thursday (25 Feb).

She was sent to Singapore General Hospital, and deemed as Case 60470.

A serology test has also been given, and the result is pending.

Don’t underestimate the virus

It might concern some that a person who has gotten 2 doses of the vaccine can still be infected 1 week later.

However, we must understand that the vaccine isn’t a magic cure for Covid-19, and it won’t work immediately.

The PSA Corp staff’s case shows that we can’t underestimate the virus. So masks, safe distancing and good hygiene practices will still be a necessity for some time yet, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps and @ Hakan Nural Unsplash.