“Dr Ong, should I get my COVID jab when it’s my turn?” asked Mr Lim towards the end of his routine follow up consultation.
I have no doubt this is high up in the mind of all my heart patients.
Singapore has been at the front of the queue in getting her citizen vaccinated against COVID. The vaccination programmed started just before New Year eve. As of 27 January 2021, more than 113,000 individuals have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vast majority of the healthcare providers have received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. So if your own doctors are getting the vaccine, maybe you should too!
In fact, patients who have a history of heart disease are encouraged to have the jab. The reason is simple, heart patients tend to have a far worse outcome than the normal population once they caught the virus. In the CDC website in USA, it listed heart diseases alongside chronic kidney failure, chronic lung disorder and diabetes as conditions that are at associated with increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
It is in the interest of everyone to get a high percentage of the population vaccinated to achieve so called herd immunity. This is one of the key strategies to prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease in our community. One should take heart from the very positive results seen in Israel. Israel is the fastest country in the world in rolling out the vaccination programme. By the end of February, more than half the entire population of 9 million people has received at least one shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The real world data collected from Israel overwhelmingly supported the safety profile of jab as very few people have reported severe reaction. Most encouragingly the doctors are also noticing a decline in the new COVID cases presenting to the hospital since the national roll out of the vaccination programme.
As more and more of us get vaccinated here in Singapore, we not only protect ourselves against it, we also make it harder for the virus to spread and keep our society safe.
There are many who worried about the safety of the vaccine. The small number of patients developing allergic reaction was attracting a fair amount of attention in the social media. Do spare a minute to look at the official MOH website, the local incidence of major allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is less than 0.003%! It is important to honestly declare your past history of allergies, asthma and any immunity deficiency condition prior to receiving the inoculation. If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.
We all hope our lives will gradually return to normal and that we get to travel again to visit family and friends in faraway places. Vaccination form one of the key planks to achieve this common goal. Please get vaccinated!