My take on COVID-19 vaccination

The global pandemic of COVID-19 is still rampaging in many countries. A fierce COVID-19 wave is currently engulfing the health care systems in India with millions of infected patients. Many patients were left gasping for breath due to a shortage of oxygen supply. Thousands died of respiratory complications of COVID-19 daily. Not too long ago, in January, India had just declared victory over COVID-19 and proudly announced that the country took proactive decisions to curb the fast-spreading virus [1]. Sadly, such a premature victory cry created a false sense of security and led to complacency in the world’s second most populous nation in their fight against COVID-19. The consequence is disastrous. Getting the vast population of India vaccinated is urgently needed to ultimately slow the spread of the disease more than ever [2]. What happened in India is a stark reminder to the world that the coronavirus will thrive when we let our guards down.

 SARS-CoV-2 virus anatomy. Image Credit: Maya Peters Kostman for the Innovative Genomics Institute.

Singapore also feels the ripple of the recent surge of COVID-19 in India with the emergence of the first hospital cluster linked with the Indian variant of the virus. Luckily, with decisive moves to contain community spread through tracking and isolation, Singapore managed to dodge a large-scale outbreak for the time being.

Some may question the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine as the infected health care workers in the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster are all fully vaccinated. Vaccines are not 100% full proof. The initial clinical trials (See COVID-19 vaccines – Evidence, risks, and unknowns) showed that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95% and 94% effective, respectively. This means that anyone who took the vaccine is protected from the disease. Still, there remains a 5-6% chance that one can become symptomatic after being exposed to the coronavirus. For example, according to an Israeli study with 4,081 vaccinated hospital workers, 22 (0.54%) tested positive for COVID-19, and 13 of them were symptomatic [3]. In the TTSH cluster in Singapore, nine out of the 40 confirmed cases had received complete vaccination. They all showed no symptoms or only mild symptoms, and none had required oxygen support [4]. So, should we see the glass as half full rather than half empty? Instead of questioning the vaccine’s efficacy, should we be glad that the vaccine also plays a crucial role in minimising the outbreak?

The circuit breaker, safe distancing, travel restrictions, and contact tracing are not meant to stop the spread of the virus [5]. These measures merely slow the spread until either a better approach becomes available or the economic costs become too high to continue with such policies. Therefore, achieving a high level of vaccination in the population should be encouraged. So far, Singapore has done well in the vaccination program, with 849,764 people completed full vaccination and 1,364,124 received the first dose as of 18 April 2021 [6]. With an adult population of about 3 million in Singapore, the completed vaccination rate is roughly 28% at this stage. The figure is encouraging but not enough. A minimum vaccination rate of 60 to 70% is needed to achieve herd immunity [5].   

Register for a COVID-19 vaccination today. Image Credit: Jernej Furman under CC BY 2.0 license.

I just had my second jab of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday in my local community centre. My two vaccination appointments were 4 weeks apart. Each time it took about 45-50 minutes, including the time for waiting, pre-injection screening, the injection, and the 30-minutes post-injection observation. The whole vaccination process is typical of Singapore: well-organised and efficient. Kudo to the government, health service providers, and all the frontline workers making COVID-19 vaccination a hassle-free experience.

As for the side effects, I experience soreness of the injected arm which lasted for one day. My sleep was disturbed during the first night after the injection. The second jab was more potent. I felt chill at night with excessive body heat but no fever, dehydrated, and fatigue on the second day. These side effects are not unexpected, and they are mild. After all, the jab is supposed to trigger the body’s immune response to produce antigens to the spike proteins of the coronavirus. All these symptoms disappeared after a good night’s sleep—no big deal.

I am not pro-vaccines as I believe there can potentially be long-term unknown effects, which are very hard to prove. Personally, I have never taken any flu vaccine in my life as I prefer natural remedies. Maintaining a healthy body with a robust immune system remains our natural protection against coronavirus (See Is vaccine the answer to the coronavirus pandemic?). Nevertheless, I am also not dogmatic with vaccines. After all, it is a way to trigger our natural immunity against a known disease. At this stage, vaccination appears to a pragmatic approach for the world to reduce the impact of COVID-19 eventually. So, if you are eligible and have not taken your vaccine yet, please do so as soon as possible. Doing not only for yourself but also for the benefits of the community and the world.  

Most side-effects of the vaccination will go away after a good night’s sleep. Image source: Pixabay.


[1]         K. Kalita, Narendra Modi: PM Modi cherishes India’s dual victory over Covid-19 and Australia; praise young India – Times of India, The Times of India. (2021). (accessed May 7, 2021).

[2]         L. Santhanam, COVID-19 is out of control in India, where most vaccines are made. How did that happen? | PBS NewsHour, PBS News Hour. (2021). (accessed May 7, 2021).

[3]         S. Amit, S.A. Beni, A. Biber, A. Grinberg, E. Leshem, G. Regev-Yochay, Postvaccination COVID-19 among Healthcare Workers, Israel, Emerg. Infect. Dis. 27 (2021) 1220–1222. doi:10.3201/eid2704.210016.

[4]         C. Tan, Nine of 40 Covid-19 cases in TTSH cluster were vaccinated and had mild to no symptoms, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times, The Straits Times. (2021). (accessed May 7, 2021).

[5]         E. Finkelstein, D. Baid, Commentary: COVID-19 unlikely to become a thing of the past anytime soon – CNA, Channel News Asia. (2021). (accessed May 7, 2021).

[6]         Ministry of Health Singapore, COVID-19 Vaccination, (n.d.). (accessed May 7, 2021).

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