A number of "adverse events" have been reported after people in Singapore received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, but most are "very mild".
This was revealed by Ministry of Health (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak during a virtual Covid-19 multi-ministry taskforce press conference on Jan. 22, 2021.
Considered 'very mild'
The "adverse events" include pain, redness, swelling, and soreness of the muscles after jabs were administered, but they are viewed as side effects of being vaccinated.
Mak, an associate professor, did not provide figures on the number of such reports made here.
He elaborated: "Most of these adverse events are very mild. They generally are local reactions that take place that includes pain, redness, swelling, soreness of the muscles where an injection have taken place."
"There are some who have reported previously fatigue, more generalised muscle aches and fever."
Immunity response seen elsewhere in the world
These reactions from those vaccinated are seen in countries that have launched vaccination programmes, Mak said.
“There are some who have reported fatigue, more generalised muscle aches, and fever. Many of these symptoms, in fact, reflect the body's immune system responding to the vaccine dose that has been injected in them," he added.
“And (there) will be some that may have more serious side effects, which include allergic reactions of a variety of different grades of severity.”
Reports on 'adverse events' will be made public
The process of having these reactions made public is underway.
Mak said these reports are still being compiled for submission to the Covid-19 vaccination expert panel for review and recommendations before being made public.
He added: "As soon as we're able to get those recommendations out and we have organised and categorised these adverse events, we will be then able to publicise and inform you what those adverse events are.”
Tracking process in place
Mak said the authorities have in place a process for tracking adverse events.
He said: "We have a process for tracking adverse effects, adverse events as they arise."
"And this goes through the institutions which perform the vaccinations, as well as other doctors who may see patients who have had vaccination, and have had any adverse effects."
"These are sent to the Health Sciences Authority who has a pharmacovigilance program to receive these reports, and then to process them any adverse event."
"Reports are reviewed by expert panels within HSA to determine the severity of these adverse events."
"And there's also reports that will be sent to the Ministry of Health where we will also consult our experts to determine whether or not we need to adjust our list of indications of precautions that need to be taken for vaccination."
"So that's in general the process, which we have put in place for tracking adverse events."
60,000 people vaccinated
More than 60,000 people in Singapore have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of Jan. 22.
Most of them are working in healthcare, and frontline services, as well as seniors in nursing homes.
From Jan. 27, some 10,000 to 20,000 senior residents in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar will be able to receive the vaccine under a pilot.
In the United States, allergic reactions have been reported at a rate of 11.1 per 1 million vaccinations.
In comparison, flu vaccines cause about 1.3 allergic reactions per million doses administered.