Worried about the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination or wondering what you should or should not be doing after the jab?
Whether you have completed the vaccination series or are waiting to take your first shot, our medical experts are here to address all the concerns you might have. We have also invited guest panellists to share their vaccination experiences with us, so watch our webinar recording to find out more.
Dr. Morrison Loh
Head of Medical Directorate, Raffles Health Insurance
Ms. Bibi Chia
Principal Dietitian, Raffles Medical Group
Webinar: COVID-19 Vaccine Queries: You Ask, We Answer
Frequently Asked Questions
[Updated as of 7 June 2021]
Individuals with a history of allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or its components should not receive the mRNA-based vaccine. Individuals with a history of allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to other medications, drugs, food, insect stings, or unknown triggers can be vaccinated.
Anaphylaxis is a severe life-threatening reaction with two or more of the following three criteria:
a) Hives or face/eyelid/lip/throat swelling;
b) Difficulty breathing;
Nevertheless, you should always let the doctor or nurse know of your allergy and the allergic reaction(s) before taking the vaccination. They can then provide you with the appropriate advice on your suitability for taking the vaccine and aftercare should you be vaccinated.
Yes you can. Drinking alcohol is not a contraindication. However, you are advised to limit to 1 – 2 standard drinks per day. Drinking too much alcohol might be linked to a lowered immune system and having a hangover can also make vaccination side effects feel worse. Studies have shown that consuming alcohol may affect sleep. It is important to get ample rest post-vaccination, so you do not want a drink that will keep you awake at night.
Not at all. Not everyone experience side effects from the vaccine. Some people will have side effects, but others won’t. It does not mean that you need to have the side effects for the vaccine to be effective.
No, there is no need to retake the vaccination series. However, if you are late for your second dose, you should receive the second dose at the earliest opportunity. Both doses are required for full protection, and for long-lasting protection. Delaying the second dose could reduce the overall effectiveness of the vaccine. Hence, try your best to stick to the vaccination schedule as recommended.
At the moment, it is still unclear how long the immunity will last for. Data is still being collected and research is ongoing to study how long the vaccines’ protective immunity will last. These findings will guide whether additional booster shots will be necessary.
Both vaccines approved for use in Singapore have been assessed to be safe and efficacious by both the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination. Both vaccines are similar in terms of how they work, their side effects and efficacy. Either of the vaccine would work safe and well in protecting you against symptomatic COVID-19 disease.
[Updated as of 1 June 2021]
Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy can be vaccinated. According to the Ministry of Health Singapore (MOH), emerging observational data from vaccinated pregnant women and self-reported information do not flag up any safety signals. Based on the mechanism of action of the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and the demonstrated safety and efficacy in Phase II and Phase III clinical trials for the non-pregnant population, the safety and efficacy profile of the vaccine for pregnant individuals should be similar to that observed in non-pregnant individuals.
Prior to receiving the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 with their obstetricians. The vaccine may be administered in a hospital setting, arranged by their obstetricians.
Should you need to take medication for your fever or aches after the vaccination, you may consider taking Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) e.g. Ibuprofen. While there are some concerns and limited studies in mice to suggest that NSAIDs might reduce the immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, there has not been any official recommendation to avoid NSAIDs after taking the vaccination.
To reduce the pain and discomfort at the injection site, you can also choose to apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area and use or exercise your arm. To reduce the discomfort from fever, you can drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly.