MOH rebuts claims of ‘adverse effects’ of Covid-19 vaccines, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

MOH rebuts claims of ‘adverse effects’ of Covid-19 vaccines

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a strong rebuttal against a call made by the People’s Power Party (PPP) to temporarily suspend Covid-19 vaccination “in response to an increasing number of reports indicating significant adverse effects” of such vaccines.

The PPP had issued the statement on May 29, quoting eight people it named as experts, warning of the dangers of the vaccine.

MOH refuted those claims on June 3, saying that it “categorically rejects these egregious and false claims” by “these so-called experts”.

It also pointed out that the PPP’s list of scientific articles “were mostly from the same group of authors, including some who have been reported to be promoting messages against Covid-19 vaccination”.

The ministry said all vaccines carry some risk, but the risks from getting an infection if unvaccinated is far worse.

“In a pandemic of this nature, excess deaths are inevitable. The primary reason why Singapore recorded one of the lowest excess death rates in the world during the pandemic is because the majority of Singaporeans took the vaccines,” it said.

Excess deaths refers to higher rates of deaths than would normally be the case.

MOH added that during the wave caused by the JN.1 variant, which peaked in December 2023, the number of people aged 60 years and older who were not vaccinated and needed hospitalisation and/or intensive care was almost double that of their peers who were up to date with their vaccinations.

The ministry acknowledged that the mRNA vaccine can cause myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle; and pericarditis, or the swelling of the tissue surrounding the heart, in young men aged 18 to 29 years.

But it said that it remains safer for these young men to get vaccinated as real world data from the United States show that getting Covid-19 infection pushed up their risk of getting these conditions by seven to eight times.

“There is a very large body of scientific evidence that overwhelmingly shows that the protection from Covid-19 vaccines outweighs the side effects,” MOH said.

“Yet, several groups continue to spread misinformation, either by quoting scientific literature out of context or sharing materials from non-credible sources who cannot be held accountable, to cast doubts on the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.”

It added that it has been transparent in reporting the incidence of side effects.

As for PPP’s claim of excess deaths linked to high vaccination rates, the MOH said most of the excess deaths were caused by the pandemic, and that vaccination reduces the risk of death.

“Of the Covid-19 deaths, there was an over-representation of persons who were not fully vaccinated, reflecting that they were more likely to die from Covid-19 infection compared to persons who were fully vaccinated.”

Furthermore, the vaccine, it said, protects against severe illness and so reduces the incidence of long Covid, a term referring to debilitating effects from an infection that could last months, or longer, such as loss of taste, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and joint pain.

Covid-19 infection can also cause complications relating to the heart and brain.

MOH said people “need to draw the right conclusions and follow the scientific evidence”.

Several examples given by the PPP were either not written by the authors they cited, or their work had been debunked, said the MOH.

For example, the PPP cited Dr Peter McCullough, who claimed that the risks of myocarditis outweigh the benefits of vaccination.

MOH said his article, A Systematic Review of Autopsy Findings in Deaths after Covid-19 Vaccination, was removed by Preprints With The Lancet. The reason given was “the study’s conclusions are not supported by the study methodology”. The Lancet journal said preprints “are early stage research papers that have not been peer-reviewed”.

Regarding the claim made by Dr Geert Vanden Bosshe, a virologist from Belgium, that mass vaccinations expedited the evolution of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, MOH said that viruses naturally mutate as they replicate, and that there is no evidence that the mRNA vaccines contributed to evolution.

Three others mentioned by the PPP – Dr Robert Malone, Dr Aseem Malhotra and Professor Angus Dalgleish – did not author the articles which the PPP had quoted them as saying.

In mid-May, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung warned that Singapore was facing an upsurge in Covid-19, which he expected to peak towards the end of June. At that time, about 250 people were hospitalised for Covid-19 each day.

Looking back at the pandemic, which raged globally for more than two years from 2020, the ministry said: “The primary reason why Singapore recorded one of the lowest excess death rates in the world during the pandemic is because the majority of Singaporeans took the vaccines.

“The high level of vaccine protection in our society averted many Covid-related deaths, protected our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and allowed us to preserve lives and livelihoods. The normalcy in our daily lives today is in large part due to the protection that Covid-19 vaccines provide.”

The Covid-19 vaccine remains free for all eligible residents at 250 Healthier SG clinics and at five joint testing and vaccination centres, and selected polyclinics.

COVID-19 - SINGAPOREVACCINEScovid-19Ministry of HealthPeople's Power PartyFAKE NEWS