You may have heard about more COVID-19 vaccines going under development or that many have been approved for use already. Plus, with the government’s goal to vaccinate all Singaporeans and long-term residents by the end of this year, it would be helpful to understand as much as possible about these vaccines and how they work.
So to keep you in the loop of the latest updates about COVID-19 vaccinations, here are a few things you must know. We tell you: how do vaccines work, what to expect, their side effects, and more.
10 Things Parents Need To Know About The COVID-19 Vaccines
Image source: iStock
1. How were the vaccines developed so fast?
It’s known that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were developed only under a year. There are several reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines went through a speedy development.
The coronavirus is closely related to the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which is a successor to SARS-CoV-1 that caused SARS outbreak (2003). As a cautionary measure, vaccine testing for the former was fastened. And this urgency has in fact helped develop COVID-19 vaccine faster too.
Due to the urgency of the sudden spread of the virus collaborations with companies were made immediately with the willingness and openness to work together to accelerate the pace of vaccine development.
Generous public funding to support the development and manufacturing of the vaccines also helped greatly in getting the vaccines an early approval.
But this doesn’t make the COVID-19 vaccines any less safe to get. Experts assure that these vaccines were made following the standard “high-level care” just like any other vaccine. So how fast they were developed shouldn’t hold you back from considering getting a shot.
2. Why were they approved so quickly?
In case you’re worried that Singapore quickly approved stocks for COVID-19 vaccines just because of the given circumstances, you should know that it was the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) that made it possible for us to purchase as well as administer the vaccines.
The Ministry Of Health assures the public that the current COVID-19 vaccination programme truly seeks to protect residents from the virus and is highly encouraged to be taken. Especially, if a majority of the population does manage to get vaccinated, this can indirectly protect those who are unable to receive it.
3. More vaccines are currently in development worldwide
Currently, there are only two vaccines that have been approved in Singapore. But there are about twelve vaccines already approved by governments worldwide. All around the world, vaccines continue to undergo development to provide better safety and protection for everyone against COVID-19.
As of 29 March, a total of 1,318,912 doses have been administered in Singapore, according to MOH.
Image source: iStock
4. The five main types of vaccines
As of now, there are five main types of vaccines that were announced according to MOH:
mRNA vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna & Arcturus
Virus vectored vaccines: Astra-Zeneca, Gamaleya & Can-Sino
Inactivated virus vaccines: Sinovac & Bharat
Protein subunit vaccines: Novavax & Sanofi-Pasteur
Virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines: Medicago
If you were wondering how do some of the vaccines work: mRNA vaccines are a type of vaccine that work by letting our body create harmless spikes. These are created on the surface of the virus, which helps our immune system learn how to fight these spikes.
5. Side effects are completely normal
Another thing that may have been making people hesitant to take the vaccine is the side effects. Some of the symptoms you might feel after getting vaccinated may include:
Pain at the injection site
Swelling at the injection site
While these side effects are mostly felt after the second dose, it’s important to know that they are normal. You shouldn’t automatically be alarmed if you experience any of them. In fact, it usually means your body is preparing its defences to protect you from the virus. If the symptoms don’t go away after some time, you can always seek help from a health professional.
6. The COVID-19 vaccines actually won an award
In 2020, the COVID-19 vaccines won the “Breakthrough of the Year” award. This is very much well deserved as they were definitely a breakthrough in science. These vaccines were developed and tested at such a fast pace to aid those in need.
7. Vaccine effects on kids will be carefully monitored
Aside from yourself, you’re probably also worried about how the vaccines would affect your child. But with the continuous distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines island-wide, you might be glad to know that Singapore announced they will be closely monitoring the ongoing trials on its safety and effectiveness on children.
This is in hopes that they will soon be certified and administered for students, according to Education Minister Lawrence Wong.
Image source: iStock
8. Can you breastfeed after being vaccinated?
A common problem among mothers nowadays is whether they’d still be allowed to breastfeed their babies even after getting the vaccine. So is it really safe?
The simple answer is: yes. It is completely safe to continue breastfeeding after you’ve been vaccinated. In fact, it is even beneficial to do so since antibodies made by your body can be passed on to your child through breastmilk. This can help protect them from COVID-19.
9. The second dose is just as important
General practitioner Dr Clarence Teo tells theAsianparent that it is crucial you don’t miss the second dose of vaccine since it is to ensure lasting immunity to protect you from the virus.
“The second dosage of the vaccine can still be given later on, but it is recommended to be done as soon as possible and not be delayed for weeks,” he says.
So to not put your shot to waste and ensure that you get full protection, don’t miss your second dose.
10. Getting the vaccine does not guarantee you a lifetime worth of protection from COVID-19
While the COVID-19 vaccines are meant to protect you from the virus, it’s important to remember that you are not immune for life. Dr Teo clarifies that a one-time shot of the vaccine is not be enough to make you invincible.
The vaccines may be effective enough for now but it is still essential that you practice proper COVID-19 sanitisation rules, especially when in public.
So let us practice and follow safety measures not only to protect ourselves but those around us as well.