SINGAPORE – Pregnant women and cancer patients on active treatment are among the subgroups of individuals who may also be vaccinated, the Multi-Ministerial Task Force (MTF) said in an update on Monday (May 31).
He noted that more people have been vaccinated both globally and locally, providing more evidence on the effectiveness and safety of vaccine use.
This is particularly related to specific subgroups where clinical trial data had not been so substantial.
The task force said: “The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination has closely followed evidence and developments around the world and has revised the guidelines for … specific subgroups of people.
Pregnant women will be able to register and make an appointment for vaccination from Friday if they are part of the population eligible for vaccination.
But MTF added that they should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctors to make an informed decision on vaccination.
“There is currently no evidence to suggest that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines can harm pregnant women or their babies,” MTF said.
“However, the committee recognizes that the amount of data collected on this segment of the population is still much smaller compared to data on the general population.”
He added that it is also safe for breastfeeding women to get the vaccine and they do not have to stop 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 their suitability has been assessed by their treating specialists.
Active treatment includes chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy that people have had in the past three months or plan to have in the next two months.
According to current guidelines, cancer patients on hormone therapy can continue to be vaccinated at any available vaccination site.
MTF said, “Cancer patients on active cancer treatment remain a vulnerable population who are at 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.”
The working group is also finalizing guidelines on the vaccination of cancer patients under treatment, including those who see private specialists.
In addition, people with severe skin side effects, which are rare drug-related disorders, may also receive the vaccine.
These reactions include Stevens-Johnson syndrome – a rare and 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 hypersensitivity syndrome.
These people can go to vaccination centers if they are part of the eligible population group.
The MTF said the committee is also reviewing safety data on people with a history of anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction that can kill if not treated quickly, to allow more to be vaccinated in completely safe. This review is expected to be completed within the next two weeks and will define guidelines.
“We will continue to review data on other types of vaccines and explore the introduction of safe and effective vaccines that are suitable for people not recommended to receive mRNA-based vaccines,” MTF said.
Read more: 6 key announcements from PM Lee Hsien Loong’s speech on Covid-19 plans