SINGAPORE – Vaccination guidelines for COVID-19 in Singapore have been made available to pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, cancer patients receiving treatment and people who have previously suffered severe skin allergic reactions to medicines.
The Committee of Experts on Vaccination against COVID-19 (EC19V) has been monitoring trials and developments worldwide and has revised its guidelines accordingly, according to the Multi-Ministry Working Group (MTF) pandemic at a virtual press conference Monday (May 31). .
There is no evidence to suggest that Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can cause harm to pregnant women or their babies, according to the MTF.
However, the committee noted that the amount of data collected on the population segment was still much smaller compared to the data on the general population.
She advised pregnant women to discuss the risks and benefits with their doctors to make an informed decision about vaccination. Pregnant women will be able to register and book a vaccination appointment from June 4, if they are part of the population group eligible for vaccination.
Similarly, both vaccines have been considered safe for women who are breastfeeding and there is no need to stop breastfeeding while receiving the punctures, EC19V said.
Cancer patients on active cancer treatment continue to have an increased risk of COVID-19 complications, but there was no evidence of any safety signal or increased rates of adverse events from COVID-19 vaccines based on mRNA, authorities noted.
Medical services director Kenneth Mak noted that MOH had previously exercised “considerable caution” and advised that these patients complete treatment before being vaccinated. “Right now, we prefer that these patients be vaccinated in a hospital where their health status can be better monitored. And we will review later if these conditions can be reviewed.”
People with severe skin adverse reactions (SCARs) or who react with skin allergies to medications may also receive both vaccines, although they were not previously recommended to do so. SCAR includes Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, pharmacological rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, and drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome.
“These are very serious reactions that occur as a result of taking various types of medications,” Professor Mak explained. “And if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to medications like antibiotics before, you can now get your COVID-19 vaccine.”
The EC19V is also reviewing safety data from people with a history of anaphylaxis, to allow safer vaccination, he added. The committee said it intends to complete the review in the next two weeks and will establish guidelines that will allow certain people who have had a previous history of anaphylaxis to be vaccinated using mRNA vaccines safely.
Professor Mak said: “We hope that these adjustments to our orientation offer vaccination opportunities to more people and allow them to benefit from the enhanced immune protection that vaccination offers.”
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