Pregnant women, cancer patients on active treatment can get Covid-19 jabs

SINGAPORE – Pregnant women and cancer patients on active treatment are among the sub-groups of individuals that can also be vaccinated, said the multi-ministry task force (MTF) in an update on Monday (May 31).

It noted that more people have been vaccinated both globally and locally, providing more evidence on the efficacy and safety of vaccine use.

This is especially in relation to specific sub-groups where clinical trial data had not been as substantive.

The task force said: “The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination has been monitoring the evidence and developments around the world closely and has revised the guidance for… specific sub-groups of individuals.”

Pregnant women will be able to register and book a vaccination appointment from Friday if they are part of the population group eligible for vaccination.

But MTF added that they should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctors to make an informed decision on the vaccination.

“There is currently no evidence to suggest that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines may cause harm to pregnant women or their babies,” MTF said.

“However, the committee recognises that the amount of data collected on this population segment is still much smaller compared to data on the general population.”

It added that it is also safe for women who are breastfeeding to be vaccinated and they do not have to suspend breastfeeding to receive the vaccine.

Meanwhile, cancer patients on active treatment can also be vaccinated, MTF said. But they should do so in a hospital setting, after assessment by their treating specialists on their suitability.

Active treatment includes chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy that individuals have undergone in the past three months or plan to undergo in the next two months.

Under the current guidelines, cancer patients on hormonal therapy can continue to be vaccinated at any available vaccination site.

MTF said: “Cancer patients on active cancer treatment remain a vulnerable population that is at an increased risk of complications from Covid-19.

“There is currently no evidence of any safety signals or increased rates of adverse events from mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines for this group.”

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The task force is also finalising guidelines on vaccination for cancer patients on treatment, including those who consult private specialists.

Additionally, those with severe cutaneous adverse reactions, which are rare drug-induced disorders, can also receive the vaccine.

Such reactions include the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome – a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes; toxic epidermal necrolysis – a rare and serious skin condition; drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms – a type of drug allergy; and drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome.

These people may go to the vaccination centres, if they are part of the population group that is eligible.

MTF said the committee is also reviewing the safety data on people with a history of anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction that can kill unless treated promptly, to allow more to be safely vaccinated. The review aims to be completed in the next two weeks and will set out guidelines.

“We will continue to review the data on other types of vaccines and explore bringing in safe and efficacious vaccines that are suitable for individuals not recommended to receive the mRNA-based vaccines,” MTF said.

Read highlights from PM Lee’s speech and updates on Singapore’s Covid-19 situation from the multi-ministry task force here.

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