Monday, 19 April 2021

I got the Moderna vaccine because I didn't know I could choose by vaccination centre

Dear Ministry of Health,

I am sort of a healthcare professional. Or at least used to be.

I was a medic in the navy during my national service and used to vaccinate shiploads of servicemen. That was hundreds of pricks. I mean the injections. The jabs were mostly for tetanus, rubella and hepatitis.

I became rather proficient with a syringe. I had good reviews.

So I am more accustomed to giving injections than getting one.

I wanted to share this fun fact about myself with the young woman giving my first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to show that I can relate to what she was doing.

She probably wouldn’t care, although that hasn’t stopped me before. Otherwise, this column would not exist.

But there was a long queue at Hong Kah North Community Club and I did not want to hold up the line with my reminiscence of injecting seamen 35 years ago.

The young woman was pretty deft with the needle too. Maybe even better than I was. It was over before I knew it. I barely felt the prick. It was like nothing.



The pain only hit me the day after and it hit like a sumbitch.

My left shoulder felt as if it had been punched by shiploads of servicemen. The rest of me was also out of sorts.

But I was fine by the next day, although I still feel a lingering ache in my left shoulder even now when I exercise, two weeks after the jab.

My wife, who had the injection at the same time as me, had the same side effects except maybe a little worse. She also had headaches.

She blamed the Moderna vaccine we were given because her mother, who is in her 90s, reported only minor side effects after getting the Pfizer vaccine.

Before you Pofma me, I should clarify that clinical trials for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown that younger adults tend to report more frequent and severe side effects than older people.

So my wife is wrong to blame Moderna for her suffering. She should blame being younger than her mother.

But despite all the unpleasant side effects, I am still glad I had my shot.

You know why? Because I got a free box of 50 disposable masks and small bottle of water out of it. Woo-hoo!

That is how you get more Singaporeans to go for vaccination – free stuff! Why aren’t you advertising this?

I later found out that a friend who went to a different vaccination centre didn’t get anything. So not everyone gets freebies.

It was only after our injections that we discovered you had published a list indicating which vaccination centre administers the Pfizer and which the Moderna vaccine – but not which centre hands out free stuff.

If we had known earlier, my wife would have chosen the Pfizer one since the Pfizer vaccine is supposedly 1 per cent more effective than Moderna.

That 1 per cent makes all the difference to her.



Don’t you find it funny that even for vaccines, people also care about brand name now?

When I was injecting seamen in the navy, I didn’t know whether the vaccine was from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson or Dettol.

I didn’t know if anyone had a blood clot or a microchip tracked by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates implanted in them after getting vaccinated.



Nowadays, we seem to know so much about the Covid-19 vaccines and yet not enough.

Back then, I just made sure to expel any air bubbles in the needle before sticking it in to avoid accidentally giving someone an air embolism. Hopefully, I didn’t kill anyone.

I can’t wait for my second dose to get more free stuff.

- Published in The New Paper, 19 April 2021

Dear Mr Ong

I do understand your articles are meant not to be taken seriously. And I must say that it is humourless most of the time. There is also a lot of creative writing in your articles. However, I wonder where the boundary line is, as far as use of improper English is concerned.

You mentioned 'don't profma me'. Don't you think that the way you write has a great influence on the readers, especially those who are young and impressionable and those who have little or no proper education in the English language?

I have also seen a lot of others using 'whatapps me,' 'pm me', 'dm me', etc The list goes on. Could you possibly be one of those who are encouraging the use of improper English?

With regards
LEE Thien Poh Steven

Okay, boomer.



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