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More than 400,000 students from Singapore’s schools and institutes of higher learning will be progressively invited to sign up for vaccination against Covid-19 from June 1, 2021. ― Reuters pic via TODAY
More than 400,000 students from Singapore’s schools and institutes of higher learning will be progressively invited to sign up for vaccination against Covid-19 from June 1, 2021. ― Reuters pic via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, Aug 16 — The 16-year-old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest last month, six days after receiving his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, is recovering steadily and is likely to be discharged in the coming weeks, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in an update today.

It added that medical investigations found that he had developed acute severe myocarditis, which led to his cardiac arrest. “The myocarditis was likely a serious adverse event arising from the Covid-19 vaccine he received, which might have been aggravated by his strenuous lifting of weights and his high consumption of caffeine through energy drinks and supplements,” the ministry said.

Myocarditis is an inflammatory condition affecting the heart muscles.

The teenager, who received his first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Comirnaty vaccine on June 27, was in a critical condition after he collapsed at home after doing some weightlifting at the gym on July 3. 

MOH said previously that he trains with very heavy weights that are heavier than his body weight.

In its statement today, the ministry said that the teenager is now undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, is making good progress and can perform his daily living activities without assistance. 

Upon his discharge from the hospital, he will likely require outpatient rehabilitation for some time before he can return to school and resume other activities, it added. 

The medical team will continue his treatment and monitor his condition.

Since his condition was found to be vaccine-related, a one-time financial assistance of S$225,000 (RM702,973) has been extended to the youth and his family under MOH’s Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (Vifap).

The independent clinical panel appointed to assess and adjudicate the Vifap application noted that the youth has made good improvement, but because his condition was severe and critical, he will require treatment and rehabilitation for some time yet to continue his recovery, MOH said.

‘Continue to avoid strenuous physical activity’

In light of the findings, MOH said that as a precaution, all vaccine recipients, especially adolescents and younger men, should avoid strenuous physical activity for one week following each of their first and second doses of the vaccine.

Individuals should also seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or abnormal heartbeats. Individuals who developed myocarditis from their first dose of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) Covid-19 vaccines should also not receive further doses of it, it added.

Although there is a small increased risk of myocarditis or pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) after receiving the vaccines, MOH pointed out that the local incidence rate remains low at 0.48 per 100,000 doses administered, based on ongoing monitoring by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

The majority of people affected by the condition have responded well to treatment and have recovered or been discharged well from the hospital, it said.

MOH also reiterated that the vaccines that had been approved under the national vaccination programme remain recommended for all eligible persons, including adolescents and younger men. 

This is because the protective benefits from the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines “continue to outweigh the risks of vaccination”, it said.

MOH, HSA, and the Government’s expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination will continue to monitor vaccine-related serious adverse events closely, it added. — TODAY

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