A group of Singapore doctors have been urging for a halt in vaccination of schoolboys. They claim that because a 13-year-old boy in US died days after he received his second dose of coronavirus vaccine that Singapore should halt vaccination as well.
But their claims have now been debunked by the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination and a senior infectious diseases specialist from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
In fact, the Ministry of Health (MOH), which oversees the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination, was quick to call out the claims as “one-sided.”
Age Limit For COVID Vaccine Is Approved, But Open Letter Still Urges Halt
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The open letter by the 12 doctors claimed the following:
- The open letter was posted by a doctor, Dr Kho Kwang Po. It was addressed to Professor Benjamin Ong, chairman of the expert committee.
- It had called for a pause in Singapore’s vaccination exercise until the CDC and organisations elsewhere produce more robust and convincing data on the case.
- The letter was signed by Dr Kho; Dr Wong Wui Min, a cardiologist; Dr A.M. Chia; Dr L.W. Ping; and Dr I.W. Yang, but it was claimed to be signed “on behalf of many concerned paediatricians, primary care physicians, specialists, surgeons and GPs.”
However, the first two aforementioned claims have now been debunked by MOH.
MOH Says Claims “One-sided” And “Misleading And Misinforming Public”
On June 28, MOH stated that the news reports about the child’s death in the US didn’t state heart failure as a cause. “The matter is still under investigation by the US authorities,” said the health body.
It is still not clear which vaccine was administered to the deceased boy. The CDC is investigating if there’s a link between the vaccination and the boy’s death.
Responding to the open letter, MOH said:
- Letter writers failed to mention that there was available data to indicate that “patients generally recover from symptoms and do well.”
- The writers further failed to mention the following discussion that took place at the meeting on the support the vaccination of adolescents received – because the benefits outweighed the risks.
- The post highlighted the recent international reports of the association between myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and the second dose of mRNA vaccines in young men.
Benefits Of Covid Vaccination Outweigh The Risks
Professor David Lye, President of the College of Physicians, Singapore and Society of Infectious Disease (Singapore), called out the doctor behind the open letter for “misleading” and “misinforming the public” in his Facebook post.
He pointed out that the three of the doctors were involved in “an infamous letter by the group of 12.”
He was talking about an earlier letter published by 12 doctors demanding children to be given the traditional Covid-19 vaccines, such as the Sinovac ones, instead of the ones with mRNA including Pfizer and Moderna. The doctors claimed it was not known what side effects these vaccines might have 10 to 20 years down the road.
But Prof Lye pointed out that the group of doctors had not given the full picture in the letter. He further stated that they had omitted several important points, such as the risk-benefit conclusion presented by the CDC.
Should You Be Concerned About The Myocarditis And Pericarditis Cases?
The expert committee on Sunday stated that there is a small risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart) associated with mRNA vaccines.
But it is clear that the benefits of vaccination in adolescents and young adults still continue to outweigh the risks. However, continued monitoring of the long-term outcomes of myocarditis after the mRNA vaccines will be important.
According to reports, four young men had cases of myocarditis and pericarditis within a few days after getting their second COVID vaccine dose. The good news is that all of them have recovered since then.
Thus, the authorities, including the US FDA and CDC, as well as Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority and MOH, have highlighted the slight risk, and have advised some countermeasures.
Prof Lye mentioned that these include, refraining from any form of strenuous exercises one week after you get your second jab. Also, don’t forget to consult your doctor if you have any form of discomfort.
Why Your Eligible Child Shouldn’t Skip COVID-19 Vaccine
Now debates like the above are bound to make you a little wary about going ahead with your kid’s COVID vaccination.
But MOH has already explained why it is important.
“In the face of a more transmissible Delta variant associated with more severe Covid-19, it is imperative that we protect our children from severe Covid-19 and its complications,” said MOH.
It can quite scary and serious because coronavirus in youth can result in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and other prolonged disabilities.
Prof Lye thus said, “There are very few effective treatments for children with Covid-19, unlike for adults. Vaccination is the main protection.”
He noted that the doctors behind the open letter had failed to recognise what might happen if the Delta variant “sweeps through our children in massive outbreaks and overwhelms our hospitals.”
Therefore, stay safe, mask up and get your eligible children vaccinated. For those out of the know, FDA has authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in adolescents aged 12 to 15 in Singapore. Moderna is only authorised for use in people ages 18 and above. So, make sure to cross-check the details while you are booking your slot.
News source: The Straits Times
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