Vaccination “split” Singapore
In August, when the Singapore government announced strict restrictions on people who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19, this had an immediate impact on vaccination rates. The full vaccination rate in Singapore jumped from 70% on 8/8 to 78% just two weeks later.
On August 10, restaurants reopened and served on-site dining for those who had received 2 doses of the vaccine. A week later, strict workplace rules were relaxed, allowing about 50% of employees to return to the office. Shopping centers and cinemas are allowed to expand their capacity for vaccinated people. Temperature checks at the entrances have stopped.
Faced with this situation, unvaccinated people in Singapore feel left behind.
Ong, 38, a mother of two, was hesitant to get the vaccine and delayed it as long as possible, citing concerns about side effects. Bee, like others in this article, did not provide a full name for identity protection.
“I am worried about myocarditis. This is one of the side effects after Covid-19 vaccine”, said Ong.
However, when the government announced new restrictions on unvaccinated people, Ong felt compelled to schedule vaccinations. “I feel like I have been abandoned by society. So I reluctantly went to get vaccinated to regain my sense of freedom,” Ong said.
Bee had the first dose of Pfizer vaccine. After the first injection, she felt fatigue, headache and nausea for 2 days. While waiting to complete the full vaccination status, effective only 2 weeks after the 2nd injection, Ong only eats at home and does not participate in social activities as before.
Regulations in Singapore, effective from August 10, prohibit unvaccinated people over the age of 13 from dining in restaurants, except at hawker centres. People who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 are also not allowed to participate in sports activities or use the indoor gym.
An unvaccinated person can dine in a restaurant by presenting a negative test result for SARS-CoV-2 from an approved medical clinic for a fee of $22.5 – $48.5 .
Lim, 42, a dance instructor, said she is fully vaccinated and believes vaccination is an act of helping the community. “We all want to be connected. If a vaccine can help rebuild connectivity, help businesses and tourism reopen, I’m happy to get vaccinated,” Lim said.
Lim noticed a distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated people on social media. She believes that misinformation is having a negative impact on the community.
“Those who are against vaccination are doing a lot of self-harm by expressing their anger on social media,” Lim said.
Still cautious despite high vaccination rate
As of September 13, 81% of Singapore’s population had received 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna. Singapore has recently allowed the use of other vaccines approved on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency use list, including Sinovac’s vaccine from China.
Tan, 30, who is currently breastfeeding, is also a vaccination delayer. Tan believes that the main reason why she did not get the Covid-19 vaccine is that not much is known about the effects of the mRNA vaccine on babies.
“There are no long-term studies on the impact of mRNA technology on the human body. So I want to continue with the immune system boosters that I’ve been using for a while,” Tan said. She takes vitamin C, D and zinc supplements, and follows a mostly plant-based, whole food diet, combined with regular exercise.
A strong believer in individual responsibility and freedom, Tan believes that unvaccinated people may face discrimination in Singapore. However, Tan has accepted restrictions on unvaccinated people because she chose not to get vaccinated. “If people want to judge me, that’s up to them,” she said.
As the world moves towards a pandemic-free future, Tan looks forward to seeing greater education, with a focus on improving health and physical resilience. This includes participating in outdoor activities, eating healthy, and building strong human relationships.
After nearly 2 years of implementing measures to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic such as imposing a blockade order, wearing masks, social distancing and limiting social activities, people around the world have been vaccinated to help the nation. their family reopen safely. However, as the number of Covid-19 cases increased again, the government urged people to limit non-essential social activities.
For the likes of Ong, she feels let down by the recent announcements. “Even if more than 80% of the population is fully vaccinated, the government still advises people to limit their participation in social activities and introduces new testing regulations,” Ong said.
Ong wants Singapore to return to normal life, like the US and UK, although she thinks people should continue to wear masks in public or on public transport.
“We need to accept the fact that most people will probably get Covid-19, but then all will recover,” Ong said.