Covid-19 vaccines administered here will not alter a person’s genetic make-up and are safe, said an expert panel, as it urged people to get jabbed, given the importance of the vaccination drive in addressing Singapore’s pandemic situation.

The wide-ranging panel discussion yesterday, organised by a charity, the Sree Narayana Mission, was attended by 120 Indian community leaders and MP for Sembawang GRC Vikram Nair.

Dr Alvin Tan, a resident doctor from the Communicable Diseases Division in the Ministry of Health (MOH), dismissed as untrue reports and social media posts claiming that some Covid-19 vaccines can affect a person’s DNA.

“People spread (the idea) that the mRNA vaccines can alter your DNA. This is not true, ” said Dr Tan, referring to Singapore’s approved vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

“Based on the science of how it works, there’s actually no modification of your DNA. Essentially it’s just your body building an immune response.”

The two vaccines work by injecting fragments of the virus’ genetic material, training the body to recognise a key part of the virus, thus building immunity. This is done without exposing the patient to the whole virus.

Dr Tan also addressed concerns that some attendees raised about the safety of vaccines, given how fast they were developed.

He said this was because the vaccines built on science that was already in the works. And the global nature of the pandemic led to quick international collaboration.

The speed of the development has not compromised the safety of the vaccines, and Dr Tan said MOH planned ahead to sufficiently test them and roll them out only after they were found to be safe and effective.

Each of the vaccines which have been authorised for pandemic use in Singapore is safe for use, he said. “It has gone through all the regulatory requirements and screening.”

Dr Tan was on the panel with Sree Narayana Mission chief executive officer S. Devendran as well as its president, Jayadev Unnithan.

Nair acknowledged that some might feel there is no need to take the vaccines, as Singapore’s coronavirus situation is under control with robust safety measures, but he called for people to still get jabbed when given the chance.

This is because doing so would mean others are protected as well, including those who might not be able to get vaccinated because of pre-existing health concerns for instance. — The Straits Times/ANN





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