Saturday, September 18, 2021

Singaporeans can now pick their Covid-19 jab

Eligible people can choose any of 38 vaccine centres, which are administering either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine.

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Those in Singapore who want to choose which Covid-19 vaccine they get can now refer to the health ministry’s website, where the full list of vaccination centres and which vaccine each administers is now available.

The Moderna shot is being given at 11 out of the 38 centres, while the rest are using the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

People can pick which vaccination centre or polyclinic they want although the site says that certain centres may have limited slots due to strong demand and limited supplies.

“Each vaccination centre will only stock and administer one type of vaccine,” the ministry said in a statement last month. “Individuals must select the same vaccination centre for both their first and second appointments, when booking via the national appointment system.”

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use the newer messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which involves injecting snippets of the virus’ genetic material, rather than the whole virus, into the body. This “teaches” cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response, producing antibodies to fight the virus.

Reported side effects from both vaccines are similar and include pain, swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, fever, chills, vomiting and joint pain after vaccination. However, many people experience no side effects whatsoever.

Their efficacy rates are also roughly similar, with Pfizer’s clocking in at 95% and Moderna’s at 94%.

Both require two shots, with the Pfizer vaccine being administered three weeks apart, while Moderna’s comes four weeks apart.

Authorities are banking on enough supplies being continually available, bearing in mind that Singapore experienced a “short-term disruption” when vaccine manufacturer Pfizer renovated its Belgium plant in March, as CNA reported.

Since the company resumed production, supplies to Singapore have been as scheduled so far but the government still anticipates occasional disruptions.

“We keep very little stock, because we do want to roll the vaccines out as soon as we get them, so that means that at some point in time if supplies are disrupted, we may need to also suspend our vaccination programme until new supplies arrive,” Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told reporters in March.

The Straits Times visited several vaccination centres on Tuesday, all of which saw a steady stream of people being seen to.

When asked why they chose a particular centre, most people said they simply picked the location closest to home.

“I’m here because the centre is near my house,” said Toh Hock Seng, 68, who took his second shot at Teck Ghee Community Club. “The brand doesn’t really matter to me.”

Housewife Pang Lay Hua, 65, who was at Bishan Community Club, said: “My friend lives nearby, so I came here to take the vaccine together with her. I didn’t ask which brand it was.”

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