1st of May 2021 might just be a special day for me. It is the day I chose to get my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. I am grateful to be in Singapore and to be able to choose between Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer for short now) and Moderna.
The reason for this post is to record it on my blog as a reminder of the experiences I got during the process (just like how I recorded my Lasik experience). Do be reminded that the experience that I described differs from person to person and cannot be a reference for everyone. Do check with your local authorities (MOH in Singapore) and/or reliable sources to get up-to-date COVID-19 information.
The Singapore Process of Getting Vaccinated
In Singapore, the Government acted fast to secure stock for three types of vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and Sinovac. As of this writing, only Pfizer and Moderna are approved by HSA (Health Science Authority).
The Singapore vaccination process started with frontliners, gradually to those with a higher risk of infection and finally to residents. We started with senior citizens and gradually moved towards the younger age groups. For my age group, I was able to register my interest from the 24th of March 2021.
In Singapore, we will need to go to a website to register our interest if the age group is being selected.
- Once registered, you will be notified of the confirmation of your interest via SMS to your registered phone number.
- You will then be notified and given a link (via SMS) to register your time slot for both the 1st and 2nd doses of vaccination.
- Once done, you will be given a confirmation of the timeslots via SMS for the dates of the vaccination.
Just for your information, for Pfizer, the 2nd dose is 21 days after your 1st dose and for Moderna, it is 28 days later.
I hesitated to register initially as I have heard/read stories of side effects of the vaccine. Nevertheless, I did my research and weighed the pros and cons of getting it.
Some of my friends who registered early got their confirmation SMS fast (within a few hours to within a few days). I registered for mine on the 27th of March 2021.
After a few days of waiting, I received a reminder NOT to register again and to continue to wait for my available time slots. I believe many are impatient and had resubmitted their interest again.
Finally, on the 12th of April, I received the invitation to book my timeslots.
I booked my 1st vaccination timeslot on a public holiday (1st of May which is Labour Day) and my 2nd dose 21 days after (22nd of May). I don’t remember if I am allowed to choose the date for 2nd dose.
FYI, the vaccine type is indicated clearly for each vaccination centre. In other words, you can choose your vaccine based on the vaccination centre. I chose my vaccination centre at Raffles Convention Centre based on my convenience.
My 1st Dose of Pfizer BioNTECH Vaccine
My wife and I arrived earlier at slightly after 3:30 pm as our timeslots are 4 pm. By the way, we had a full meal before the vaccination.
1. We were ushered to queue up systematically near the vaccination centre. Time: 3:37 pm
2. We need to show them the SMS indictating the date of our vaccination.
3. Once the area is cleared up, we were ushered to the venue. We have to check in to the venue as part of the Safe Entry requirement. Time: 3:43 pm
4. While queuing up, we were asked if we have any allergies and etc. We were provided a booklet with our answers to the questions after that.
5. Finally, I reached a counter to be asked if I am here for the 1st or 2nd dose, and to produce my NRIC (Identification Card) to confirm my status. If you are with your family, do note that you will be separated to proceed individually.
6. Once completed, I have to queue up to get a queue number to get my vaccination. Time: 3:52pm
7. The 1st dose is very fast. The doctor went through with me some of the questions again and proceeded with the injection. The doctor will place a plaster over the injection area. I have a little hiccup over this process. After the injection, I was asked to hold on to the cotton while the doctor prepared the plaster. I removed the cotton before he could see the injection area properly and the doctor pasted the plaster above the injection area.
This shows that the needle is so fine that I don’t really feel anything and the “wound” could not be seen properly.
8. Final step of the vaccination process is the 30 minutes waiting time. This period is crucial to detect any abnormalities after the injection. Time: 4:00pm
9. When the time is up, the queue number is called and there will be a final check with the person if we are alright or not. If there is nothing wrong, that is it. I was provided the COVID-19 Vaccination Card. Time: 4:32pm
Overall, it took less than 1 hour to get the 1st dose of the vaccination.
48 hours after the 1st Dose
Again, before I describe my personal experiences, it differs from person to person. Do not expect everyone to feel the same.
The injection area, as expected, ached for days. It got worse after hours after the injection. I had no fever except feeling fatigue and dryness in my throat. On my second day (2nd May), after a good sleep, I feel “normal”. I even went for a 10km evening run but my arm still aches a little.
That is it. Looking forward to my 2nd dose on 22nd of May 2021.