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'Even if you get sick, it'll be less serious': Vaccinated woman who got COVID-19 urges more to get their jabs
22 Jul 2021 06:03AM
FILE PHOTO: A doctor is vaccinated at Gleneagles hospital during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
FILE PHOTO: A doctor is vaccinated at Gleneagles hospital, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
(Updated: 22 Jul 2021 06:10AM)
SINGAPORE: Sometime last month, an elderly woman who only wanted to be known as May discovered that she had contracted the coronavirus.
She was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received her second dose three months before she tested positive.
“I was very shocked and kept thinking how come I got the virus?” she told CNA. "When I was working, I felt very fine, I had no symptoms … no cough, no flu, no headache, nothing at all.”
May, who is in her 70s, works as a cashier at a restaurant in Tiong Bahru.
Her infection was detected after her employer instructed staff members to get tested before reporting for work. At the time, a growing number of cases had been detected in the area, prompting authorities to conduct testing for staff, tenants and visitors.
After she was swabbed, she went to work, only to be notified hours later that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
She was gripped by fear when she was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) that evening.
“I was very scared, I didn’t know what to do, what happened to me and what (the hospital) would do with me once I was in there,” said May, who has several chronic diseases.
However, her fears were soon allayed as she did not experience any symptoms, even during her hospital stay.
“I felt very healthy and fine ... I just had to do swab tests, blood tests, checks for blood pressure and oxygen readings,” she said.
In fact, the only medicine she had to take was for her chronic illness.
READ: Return to tighter measures needed as COVID-19 infections likely to 'rise sharply' at current transmission rates: MOH
A week later, she was discharged from the hospital and taken to a community care facility in Loyang, which is the usual arrangement for those who show mild or no symptoms.
According to the Ministry of Health's website, patients in these facilities are monitored closely in case they need to be transferred to hospital for better management and support. Most of them recover with "minimal" intervention, it stated.
May’s experience is not uncommon, and official data shows vaccination can help to prevent serious disease.
“For example, they are less likely to develop fever and less likely to have cough and shortness of breath,” said Dr Barnaby Young, a consultant at NCID.
“We have also observed they have significantly lower measures of inflammation on blood tests and are less likely to develop pneumonia.”
READ: Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can lessen the severity of symptoms: Experts
As of Wednesday night (Jul 21), out of the 412 local COVID-19 cases reported in the last 28 days who had been fully vaccinated, all had mild or no symptoms.
In the partially vaccinated group, 0.7 per cent of patients who had received one dose of the vaccine required supplemental oxygen.
As for those who had not received any dose of the vaccine, 2.4 per cent of the 253 local cases developed serious illness, need oxygen supplementation or admission into intensive care units.