A group of health professionals have penned an “urgent open letter” to Singapore’s Expert Committee on the Covid-19 vaccination programme, asking the country to stop vaccinating youths until the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarifies the reasons why a teenage jab recipient has died.
Signed by a number of Singaporean medical professionals, the letter was posted on Facebook on Saturday.
Its authors urged the authorities to “consider a short delay” in vaccinating youths with messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) jabs such as Pfizer, in view of the recent incident in the US.
The CDC is investigating the death of a 13-year-old from Michigan three days after he got his second shot of an unnamed coronavirus vaccine.
Vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have received emergency approval in the US, and all three of them are also in use in Singapore.
The medical professionals who signed the letter argued that that the CDC should be given “a few weeks to produce robust and convincing data” on the teen’s death and the possibility of its link to the inoculation.
They insist the issue is an urgent one because Singapore pursues “one of the most aggressive” mRNA programmes in the world, in which at least 200,000 teenage boys are expected to be vaccinated.
“Certainly, we do not want to see any more suspected vaccine-related deaths in any young persons in the prime of their life,” the letter said.
As concerns spread, Singaporean parents have also launched a petition asking the authorities of the city-state to suspend the vaccination of those under 30, especially school pupils from 12 to 15 years of age, until the CDC probe is complete.
On Sunday, the Expert Committee on Covid-19 vaccination said they are closely monitoring local and global data to keep their recommendations up to date. At the moment, their assessment is that the benefits of Covid-19 jabs outweigh the risks posed by the virus.
The body has advised continuing with the vaccination of the local youths, but added that as a precaution they should avoid intensive physical activities for a week after the second shot and contact a doctor in case of any health complications.
Vaccination is in full swing in Singapore, where over two million out of 5.7 million citizens have already received both shots of the jab.
The city-state aims to fully vaccinate two-thirds of its population, while also saying it will radically change its strategy of coping with the virus.
A group of Singaporean ministers have declared in the Straits Times that the plan is to lift the travel bans and to “live normally with Covid-19 in our midst” as the virus continues to mutate.
“We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza or chickenpox, and get on with our lives,” the officials said.