In August 2021, the Singapore government issued a notice to apply strict regulations for those who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. Immediately, the effects from this announcement occurred. The number of people vaccinated increased, from 70% to 78% who received 2 doses in just 2 weeks.
On August 10, restaurants reopened but only allowed guests who had received 2 vaccinations. After a week, the work-from-home rule was also relaxed, allowing 50% of workers to return to the office. Shopping centers and cinemas have also increased their operating capacity for vaccinated people. Temperature measurement in public places has also stopped.
But when all of the above applies to people who have been vaccinated, it means that those who have not been vaccinated will suffer. They begin to feel lost and isolated.
People who are shunned by society
Ong, a 38-year-old mother of two, is hesitant to receive the mRNA vaccine (the technology behind Pfizer and Moderna). She tries to delay vaccination as long as possible, for fear of unwanted side effects.
“I’m quite concerned about myocarditis – a possible side effect of the vaccine,” he said. – she said.
A pub in Singapore has a sign: Only vaccinated guests
In fact, scientists and the WHO have confirmed that two existing mRNA vaccines have the potential to cause heart complications, but the risk is very small (about 1 in a million and usually mild symptoms). On the other hand, your risk of heart complications is much higher if you catch the virus, rather than get vaccinated.
Even so, Ong still felt fear. But when Singapore introduced a new rule for unvaccinated people, Ong began to feel the pressure. “I feel marginalized in society,” – she confided. “So I decided to get injections, to feel free again.”
Bee chose to get Pfizer’s vaccine and at this point has had 2 doses. After nose 1, she felt tired, headache, nausea for 2 days. While waiting for the vaccine to have a full effect (usually 2 weeks after the second dose), she only eats and drinks at home and almost does not go out.
The application requires people to present their vaccination status in Singapore
Regulations issued on August 10 banned unvaccinated people over the age of 13 from dining in restaurants and shops, except for outdoor dining areas. Unvaccinated people are also banned from using gyms and severely restricted – such as no gatherings of more than two people.
There is a way to live comfortably without a vaccine, but it is quite expensive. People who have not been vaccinated, if they can present a negative Covid-19 test, can enter the restaurant and use some services. However, the price is not cheap, about 30 to 65 SGD (equivalent to nearly 500,000 to more than 1 million VND) for each test.
Not vaccinating is a selfish act
Lim, a 42-year-old dance teacher, has been vaccinated with two shots. She believes vaccination is an act of community without selfishness. “We all crave connection, and if it (vaccine) helps us contact, do business, travel comfortably, I am ready to inject,” – Lim admitted.
She found that there is a pretty clear divide between injectors and non-injectors on social media, and it creates negative effects for the community. “Those who have injected are comfortable, while the anti-vax group is self-harming by creating so much anger on social media,“- Lim commented.
As of September 13, 81% of Singapore’s 5.9 million population had been vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Recently, the Singapore government approved several more WHO-certified vaccines, including Sinovac from China.
Ms. Tan was among those delaying vaccination. The nearly 40-year-old woman is currently breastfeeding – also the reason why she hesitates to get vaccinated for fear of affecting her baby.
“There have not been any long-term studies on the effects of mRNA technology on the human body, so I decided to believe in my own immunity and some of the enhancement methods that are still in use.” – Tan shared. Every day, she takes vitamins and supplements, exercises and has a healthy, vegan diet.
According to Tan, unvaccinated people in Singapore are really isolated and somewhat discriminated against. However, she is not concerned about the new regulations targeting people who choose not to be vaccinated like herself. “If they want to judge, go ahead.”
After a year and a half of lockdowns, mandatory masks, social distancing and countless other restrictions, many Singaporeans choose to get vaccinated to help the country reopen safely. But as the number of infections increased, the Singapore government once again urged people to reduce unnecessary social activities.
And for people like Ong, it’s a disappointing announcement.
“With 80% of the population vaccinated, people are told to avoid social activities and there are new testing regulations. Things keep changing and getting very complicated.” – Ong commented.