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More than 2,000 people exempted from vaccination-differentiated measures due to adverse reactions to COVID-19 shots: MOH

The observed rate of COVID-19 deaths was around 2 in 1,000 for this group, compared to 0.3 in 1,000 in the whole population.

More than 2,000 people exempted from vaccination-differentiated measures due to adverse reactions to COVID-19 shots: MOH

A woman checks into a shopping mall on Oct 20, 2021, the first day of the end of the grace period for vaccination-differentiated measures in Singapore. (Photo: Calvin Oh/CNA)

SINGAPORE: More than 2,000 people have been exempted from COVID-19 vaccination-differentiated restrictions due to adverse reactions to vaccines, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday (Oct 3) in Parliament.

In response to questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) on excess deaths due to COVID-19 among those medically ineligible to be fully vaccinated, he said MOH does not comprehensively track these numbers.

But he revealed that as at Jun 30, 2,100 people had successfully applied for exemption from vaccination-differentiated safe management measures (VDS).

For this group, the observed rate of deaths was around two in 1,000, compared to 0.3 in 1,000 for the whole population.

“In reality, the number of people who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines is small, given the vaccine options available,” said Mr Ong.

Last month, the Health Ministry released a report showing that Singapore had recorded an estimated 2,490 excess deaths during the pandemic from January 2020 to June 2022.

This refers to the difference between actual deaths from all causes since the pandemic began, and expected deaths if there had not been COVID-19.

The report stated that nearly three in five excess deaths in Singapore during the pandemic were directly caused by the coronavirus, and the remainder were patients who had died of other illnesses within 90 days of being infected.

“Our death rate essentially went back to 2018 levels, wiping out improvements over a few years,” said Mr Ong.

He noted that compared to other countries that have opened up, Singapore’s number of excess deaths is much lower, based on estimates for 2020 and 2021 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO figures put Singapore's excess deaths at 26 per 100,000 persons per year.

Mr Ong reiterated the importance of getting booster shots to be properly protected against COVID-19, adding that vaccinations are key to reducing excess deaths.

“We need to get a booster, in other words, three doses of mRNA vaccines. It will reduce the risk of severe illnesses and deaths significantly. Two shots do not do the job completely,” he stressed.

He added that the reimposition of safe management measures cannot be ruled out in the event of a surge in infections and severe illnesses, as it would help preserve healthcare capacity and ensure sufficient resources.

“But we will do so only when it is necessary to save lives,” he said.

“The pandemic is not entirely over, but we hope we are at the endgame, and will continue to navigate through the crisis with resilience and unity.”

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Source: CNA/vl(jo)