Since early 2020, people all over the world have been living through the coronavirus pandemic. Every country has their borders, and wearing a mask has become a normal custom in peoples’ daily lives. To build immunity against COVID-19, many scientists have been researching how to create vaccines, finally in 2021, these vaccines came out.
Singapore’s vaccination process is similar to that of other countries'. Reservations must be made online, and people can choose whether to receive a Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine. They need to choose a time and place to get vaccinated, but many people fail to get the time and place they desire, due to the initial high rate of competition.
|Socially distanced chairs (left) / The number ticket (Right). Photo credit: Yujin Son|
The process of getting a vaccine is the same for both first and second dose. People receive a number ticket and sit outside on socially-distanced chairs. In the room where people receive their vaccination, a nurse talks through instructions in an information pamphlet that lists activities to avoid such as strenuous exercise. Nurses also explain potential side effects and how to manage them. Then, finally, the vaccination takes place. After a 30-minute wait in the auditorium to check if anyone starts experiencing severe side effects.
|The booklet that I got from the Toapayo Community Center. Photo credit: Yujin Son|
There are different side effects that can be experienced between the first and the second dose. Although many people simply experience a sore arm after their first dose, many have also reported more serious side effects such as high fevers and heavy body aches after their second dose. Despite experiencing high fever or headaches, it is common for these side effects to go away after 2~3 days.
At school, it is common for students and teachers to take sick days due to their post-vaccination symptoms. According to the school nurse, there approximately four to five students went home early in a day. For the students who missed their classes, teachers and friends send them emails to help students for them to catch up on their lessons. Before COVID-19, friends used to be careful not to be near to him/her if he/she coughs or visiting the nursery room. However, now it is commonly accepted to visit the school nurse due to their post-vaccination symptoms.
|Message screenshot from my friend. Photo credit: Yujin Son|
|Email screenshot from my science teacher. Photo credit: Yujin Son|
The class was impacted the most from vaccinations was physical education. One of the actions people should not do for a week after vaccination is rigorous physical activity. At that time, my class started taking swimming lessons, and there was a time when only 3 out of 22 students were able to swim. Some students inevitably had to miss two classes in a row because of their period and their vaccination.
The view of how students look at vaccines changed too. At the start of the 2021, many replied they don’t want to get vaccinated, as they are scared of the severe side effects displayed on TV. Some said they would like to get vaccinated, after all the side effects have been discovered. Students mainly focused on the side effects and were reluctant. However, nowadays, many of them are getting the vaccine. Students answered that the biggest reason is anxiety, as vaccines are limited, the demand is high, so they might not be able to get a chance, if they don’t get it now. Furthermore, the fear of the side effects were gone too. They chose to take a bit of risk, hoping them to not discovered as a rare case.
Still, there are students who prefer not to get vaccinated, but are only choosing to do so due to the strict restrictions of social distancing. One of them is dining restrictions - those who are not vaccinated can only dine with one other person, while those who are vaccinated can dine with maximum 5 people total. The restrictions between vaccinated people and not vaccinated people are quite different, and this makes it difficult for people to get their vaccine for their convenience.
The ultimate problem of COVID-19 can’t be solved if only Singapore is in a good status with high vaccination rate; it is more important for the rest of the countries to get fully vaccinated to return to the life before the pandemic. I wish to go back to the normal life with freedom to travel, gathering for social activities, and a no mask life!
Yujin Son (손유진)
Singapore Australian International School
Yujin Son email@example.com
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