SINGAPORE: More than 30,000 people with a history of anaphylaxis due to food or medication will be invited to register for the COVID-19 vaccine, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Jun 8).
The Ministry of Health had said the previous week that it had lifted the restrictions on the use of COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines on some people with a history of anaphylaxis, allowing them to now receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna jab.
"More people can now be covered with the lifting of restrictions on persons with a history of anaphylaxis due to food and other medicines," said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.
He also said that the Government would begin sending SMSes to more than 30,000 people in this group on Tuesday, inviting them to register for their jabs.
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The decision to remove restrictions was taken after a recommendation from Singapore's Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination.
"Local and international data indicates that mRNA vaccines are suitable for use in persons with anaphylaxis not related to mRNA vaccinations or its components," the committee had said.
It recommended that people with a history of anaphylaxis or allergic reactions to other drugs, food, insect stings or unknown triggers can be vaccinated with a 30-minute observation period after the jab.
People with a history of anaphylaxis due to any component of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are still not recommended to receive the jab.
Previously the committee had recommended that those with a history of anaphylaxis not receive the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines "out of an abundance of caution".
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Mr Ong also provided an update on Singapore's vaccination rate, saying that 75 per cent of adults in Singapore who are eligible for the vaccine had signed up for or received their vaccine doses.
"We are able to manage this wave of infections successfully, due to all our collective efforts. Many thanks to everyone!" said the health minister, who added that "our people continue to support vaccination" even as issues such as vaccine disinformation and racial discrimination were taking the limelight on social media.
"In the process, various issues came to the fore on social media – that COVID-19 vaccines are harmful to us, that mRNA vaccines do not work. And there were very ugly incidents involving racial discrimination and xenophobia as well."
People in Singapore have continued to support vaccination "despite all these distractions", said Mr Ong.
"I admire the courage of those who spoke up for greater understanding, unity, kindness during such times, and defending evidence-based science," he added.