16-Year-Old Boy Now In Critical Condition In ICU, MOH Says

Singapore’s in the thick of our national vaccination drive, with students above the age of 12 able to get their jabs from 1 Jun.

Though we’ve been assured the vaccines used here are safe, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has warned that young men may be at risk of heart inflammation.

Weeks after that warning, a 16-year-old male Singaporean has suffered cardiac arrest after getting his 1st dose of the vaccine.

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He had been lifting weights at the gym before his collapse.

Teen was vaccinated on 27 Jun

In a media release on Monday (5 Jul), MOH said the affected teenager had received just 1 dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine.

That’s the mRNA vaccine approved for use in our vaccination programme.

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He was vaccinated on 27 Jun, and was well during the 30-minute post-vaccination observation.

The boy had previously been assessed as suitable for vaccination by trained healthcare personnel.

Teen lifted weights before collapsing

All seemed well even 5 days after the jab, MOH said.

However, on the 6th day – Saturday (3 Jul) – the teen lifted weights at the gym.

As part of his training, he uses “very heavy weights”, MOH added – in fact, they were above his body weight.

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After the activity, he collapsed at home that morning.

Teen treated at 2 hospitals, now in critical condition

The boy was sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) after collapsing.

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There, he was treated at the emergency department, and KTPH alerted MOH to his case.

On the same evening, he was transferred to another hospital, the National University Hospital (NUH).

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He now remains in the intensive care unit (ICU), in critical condition.

Preliminary diagnosis is cardiac arrest

NUH is providing close medical care for the teen.

The cause of his collapse has preliminarily diagnosed as cardiac arrest.

However, tests are still being done to determine what caused his cardiac arrest.

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NUH’s medical team is also in close contact with MOH, and they’ll work together to find out whether his case is linked to his vaccination.

MOH also added,

This will include a thorough consideration of whether there was acute severe myocarditis, which is severe inflammation of the heart muscles affecting the heart function, as a possible diagnosis.

Previous warnings from MOH & US FDA

On 11 Jun, MOH said that young men had a “small risk” of myocarditis and pericarditis – inflammation of the heart muscles and lining respectively – after their 2nd mRNA vaccine dose.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warned of rare heart inflammation cases, especially among males, after the 2nd dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

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Thus, the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination advised younger males to avoid strenuous physical activity for 1 week after the 2nd dose.

Avoid strenuous activity 1 week after both doses: MOH

However, based on additional local and overseas data, the committee and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has made a further recommendation.

They’re now advising all people, especially younger males, to avoid strenuous physical activity for 1 week after the 1st and 2nd doses.

This review was conducted independently of the 16-year-old boy’s incident, MOH said.

12 heart problem cases following vaccination

The HSA also updated that 12 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis had been reported in people after being vaccinated.

While 5 of these cases were aged above 30, 7 of them were in males below 30.

This is “higher than expected for this age group”, HSA said.

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Most of them were reported after the 2nd dose, but some cases happened after the 1st dose.

The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination thus recommends that anybody who suffers myocarditis after getting an mRNA vaccinate shouldn’t get a further dose of such vaccines.

MOH will continue mRNA vaccines despite concerns

The cases seem to have concerned some people enough such that 5 doctors wrote an open letter urging for Singapore to delay vaccinating male students.

Besides doctors, some parents have also called for the suspension of vaccinations for those under 30 years old, signing a petition on ipetitions that has so far gathered more than 2,700 signatures.

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Despite these concerns, MOH responded that they’ll continue offering mRNA vaccines as the benefits still outweigh the risks.

The authorities are still strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated if able, as a clinical trial by Pfizer has shown that the vaccine is well-accepted by adolescents aged 12 and above.

However, vaccination should still remain voluntary, they said.

Do avoid strenuous activity after jab

The latest case of the 16-year-old boy might concern the public, some of whom might imagine their sons in his place.

As such, it’ll be prudent for those who’re getting their jabs to follow MOH’s advice and refrain from strenuous physical activity, including lifting weights.

For those who can’t bear to slack off from their training regimen, just know that it’s better to put on some weight than end up in hospital.

MS News hopes the teenager will recover soon, and sends our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured images adapted from Mufid Majnun @ Unsplash and Alora Griffiths @ Unsplash. Photos for illustration purposes only.