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Avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks after jab: Expert committee

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Expert committee makes recommendations after reviewing more vaccine safety data

Those who have just received their Covid-19 vaccine shots should avoid strenuous exercise, such as lifting heavy weights, for two weeks instead of one, particularly if they are young, the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination said yesterday.

People who experienced mild allergic reactions after they received a dose of an mRNA vaccine may now be eligible for their second and subsequent doses of the same vaccine, the committee added in an updated advisory.

The Ministry of Health said the committee made these recommendations having reviewed more vaccine safety data.

Local and overseas data continue to show a small risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis, with cases mainly occurring in younger people after their second dose, said the expert committee.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is an inflammation of the heart membrane.

"While most of the cases reported previously had occurred within one week of vaccination, the Health Sciences Authority had also started to receive reports of some cases that occurred within the second week of vaccination," it said.

"Myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination are rare, but occurrence tends to be higher in young males aged 30 years and below."

This is why it is now advising that people who have just been vaccinated should avoid strenuous physical activity for two weeks, it said.

"During this time, they should seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations."

With more international evidence of the safety of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines, people who had mild skin reactions after their first dose and were deemed ineligible for further shots can now take their second dose, said the expert panel.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Tuesday that 7,100 people had allergic reactions after their first dose of a Covid-19 mRNA vaccine.

They had previously been invited to complete their vaccination with two doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac under a dedicated public health programme, with 3,900 expressing interest.

The new advisory will allow more people, particularly those with minor or non-specific past reactions, to safely complete their vaccination regime, said the expert committee.

"Persons with the above conditions are encouraged to return to their previous vaccination sites in order to be reassessed for eligibility to complete their vaccination."