Tag: covid-19

I have hypertension and diabetes. Should I sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine?

I have hypertension and diabetes. Should I sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine?

This is a very frequently asked question. Many lay people seem to believe that if one has pre-existing medical condition(s), such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, etc, then one is not suitable to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

This believe is inaccurate, and is in fact the reverse of what doctors have been advising. We have consistently been saying that people with pre-existing medical conditions, especially if they are above 60 years old, are at a higher risk of getting severe Covid if they should be unfortunate enough to be infected, and may end up in ICU or even death. As such, this group of people are especially likely to benefit from the Covid-19 vaccine.

Therefore, the logical thing to do is to get this group of people vaccinated as soon as possible, regardless of which type of vaccines one may be getting.

What you should know when signing up for the AstraZeneca vaccine

What you should know when signing up for the AstraZeneca vaccine

Here is a good write-up about what you need to know about the AstraZeneca (AZ) Covid-19 vaccine to help you decide whether you would like to sign up for it or not.

Click here for the article. Pay particular attention to the section on the possibility of blood clots as a side-effect.

In summary, the risk of a blood clot is very, very small. This blood clot risk decreases with increasing age, which is why the AZ vaccine is recommended only for those above 60 years old in some countries. However, there are also other countries that have not recommended the use of this vaccine at all for their populations.

The final decision is yours. No one can make this decision for you. Not even your doctor. If you feel that the benefits outweigh the risks, especially in this current surge, then go for it. If you feel otherwise, then don’t.

I have allergy. Can I take the Covid-19 vaccine?

I have allergy. Can I take the Covid-19 vaccine?

This is a well-written and well-researched article by Dr. Amar Singh, and would be of great interest for those who have history of allergy and are considering taking the Covid-19 vaccine.

As we implement the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, those of us who are healthcare professionals have numerous friends and acquaintances asking us about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines.

In particular, is the issue of the risk of taking the vaccine if we have a history of allergies. It is recognised that some individuals get a rare, serious side effect, for example, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis can occur after taking a drug, from a bee sting, eating some food item, etc, and not just vaccines. We often never know who is going to react in this way.

Click here for the complete article.

What you need to know about (Covid-19) vaccines

What you need to know about (Covid-19) vaccines

There are a lot of news now about the Covid-19 vaccines. They are many different types coming into the market. This means that the different vaccines are made differently using specific methods, and therefore their safety profiles and efficacy are different as well.

To understand the Covid-19 vaccines better, it is useful to know:

  1. How vaccines are made or what are the different methods available in making a vaccine
  2. What are the clinical trials of vaccines so that you can understand what is meant by preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 and phase 4 trials.
  3. Types of Covid-19 vaccines (see a simple summary in the image below)
  4. All you want to know about the Malaysian Covid-19 vaccine programme and when you can expect to be vaccinated
Latest Guidelines on Management of Close Contact

Latest Guidelines on Management of Close Contact

On 14 January 2021, the Health Ministry released a new guideline on the management of close contact – people who were exposed to patients diagnosed with Covid-19.

A person who is exposed for 15 minutes or more, at a distance of less than 6 feet, to someone diagnosed with Covid-19 infection is generally regarded as a close contact. The risk is increased if one or both were without a face mask during that contact.

All close contact must get their rt-PCR swab done.

A close contact can be asymptomatic or symptomatic.

  1. If a close contact is asymptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and continues to be asymptomatic, self home quarantine ends after 10 days.
  2. If a close contact is asymptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and then becomes symptomatic, this individual needs a second rt-PCR swab test and needs to be quarantined for 10 days, beginning from the first day of symptoms.
  3. If a close contact is symptomatic, and has a negative rt-PCR swab test, and the symptoms cleared, then quarantine ends after day 10.

Home Quarantine Guidelines for Covid-19 Patients with no or mild symptoms

Home Quarantine Guidelines for Covid-19 Patients with no or mild symptoms

As the number of Covid-19 patients increases, our hospitals are quickly running low in beds, tests, personnel and resources. As such, the Health Ministry has issued new guidelines for quarantine.

Those Covid-19 patients with no or mild symptoms are no longer admitted to our hospitals for quarantine. Instead, they are required to do self-quarantine at home.

For those who have tested positive for Covid-19, AND has no or very mild symptoms, here are the guidelines for home quarantine:

Home Quarantine Guidelines
Home Quarantine Guidelines for Patients
Guidelines for Duration of Quarantine

Colchicine effective oral drug for Covid-19

Colchicine effective oral drug for Covid-19

Canadian doctors have claimed a first in the use of a common oral medication that appears to be effective in treating Covid-19 infections.

In a study that involved 4,159 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 with PCR tests, patients taking colchicine were able to reduce risk of death or hospitalisation by 21% compared to placebo. The need for mechanical ventilation was reduced by 50% and death by 44%.

For more on this story, click here.

Understanding the Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines

Understanding the Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines

Now that many private companies are coming out with different types of Covid-19 vaccines, it may be difficult for lay people to understand what they are, how they are made, what are the pros and cons.

Well, you can now equip yourself with a better understanding of the different types of Covid-19 vaccines that are available by reading up on them from this well written article (click here).

Truth and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Truth and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Truth and the Covid-19 Pandemic

If there is any blessings arising from this Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it is showing us the importance of truth.This is because we cannot fight this pandemic with denials, lies and distortion of truth. Doing so only makes the situation worse for everyone.

There have been many reports of patients who have history of close contact with known Covid-19 patients denying this very important aspect of their medical history when they go and see their doctors. This resulted in triage error, thus sending them to doctors who are not properly attired and protected. Later, when they are tested positive, they finally admitted but by then it is already too late. Scores of healthcare personnel would have to be quarantined for at least 2 weeks. Sometimes, an entire clinic or department had to be closed down. At a time when we are already short of all kinds of healthcare resources, including skilled personnel, this is nothing short of a disaster.

Another important tool to fight this pandemic is accurate and truthful information. Unfortunately, there have been wide and indiscriminate dissemination of fake news and suspicious information disguised as coming from authentic authorities or experts. This means we will waste valuable time trying to sieve through what can be trusted and what are lies. Accurate information can help us understand the disease better, and make it easier for us to protect ourselves. Fake news are harmful, often giving false sense of security or trigger outright fear or panic.

Lastly, truth is not a privileged but a necessity in healthcare. One may distort reality and still succeed in politics or even business, but it is disastrous and even deathly when applied in healthcare. Little wonder that we now see our politicians, who are used to distorting realities, having a difficult time trying to cope with this pandemic. Their method is useless in this fight.Let the scientists and doctors take the driver’s seat in this fight, and the politicians humbly taking the backseat.

Universal Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic

Universal Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic

Starting out in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019, the Covid-19 virus has spread like wildfire all across the globe within just a few months. It is causing tremendous amount of destruction and disruption to our “normal” lifestyle. There are death and suffering everywhere it goes.

However, looking from a more spiritual perspective, this pandemic may be just the prescription humanity needed right now to reset our views and attitudes towards the world and towards each other, for it teaches us a few very fundamental and essential lessons about life.

  1. Accept reality, instead of resisting or fighting it
  2. Humanity must come together as one family
  3. Actions motivated by fear are destructive for everyone

Accept reality, instead of resisting or fighting it

This is examplified by countries that refuse to acknowledge the global nature of this virus, and by leaders who refuse to face the truth or speak the truth, thus causing the situation to become worse rapidly due to inaction or inappropriate actions. The best example of this is Donald Trump and the way he trivialized it until it became too late to act. Precious early opportunities to contain the spread were missed because of this refusal to acknowledge reality.

Humanity must come together as one family

Precious early opportunities were also missed in China in the early stage of the outbreak in Wuhan, also due to the refusal of their leaders to acknowledge it. However, when the outbreak became apparent, the Chinese government went all out to contain it and prevent its spread. During this time, the rest of the world simply watch and do nothing to help. Our attitude seems to be — it’s your problem, not mine. We should have learned from the Ebola outbreak that early concerted global effort can successfully contain a serious outbreak and prevent it from spreading further.

In addition, when a lockdown was ordered in Wuhan, many of their inhabitants willfully “escaped” the lockdown and travelled overseas, thus spreading the virus to other countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Thailand, etc. This created new clusters elsewhere, making it even harder to be contained, and effectively exporting the virus to the rest of the world. This selfish attitude is the actual cause of the pandemic.

However, this selfish attitude is not exclusive only to the Chinese in Wuhan. We see this selfish attitude in other countries and communities as well. In South Korea, the virus appears to have been well contained until participants in a religious congregation started spreading it elsewhere within and without the country. To date, many of the participants have still refused to come forward voluntarily to be tested. Similar challenges were seen in Malaysia.

In order to successful fight this pandemic, human beings must consciously and intentionally come together as one big family to think and care for each other, instead of acting through selfish impulses.

Actions motivated by fear are destructive for everyone

As we can see from the above, the Covid-19 virus is not the real enemy. The real enemy is fear. Fear and actions motivated by fear are the actual causes of this pandemic.

Fear is seen in many forms. Selfishness is one that we have discussed. Another equally destructive one is denial. The outbreak has shown us many examples of how people in denial of having the Covid-19 infection actually put themselves and their loved ones at risk, as well as their community and the healthcare frontliners working to save them. Everyone of us stand to lose when denial is at work.

This Covid-19 pandemic clearly shows us the negative consequences of actions motivated by fear.

On the other hand, we also see examples of positive consequences of actions motivated by love. We see healthcare workers facing the virus head on, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk so that we and our loved ones can stay safe. They are the real superheroes in our lives.