The Ministry of Health (MOH) is aware of a recent article by Dr Gabriel Oon which suggested that the development and administration of mRNA vaccines have led to new virus mutants or variants. This is factually incorrect. By citing people he knew who have succumbed to the virus, he seemed to also suggest that the vaccines were ineffective, or worse, were the cause of the deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic chapter of world history, but we need to draw the right conclusions and follow the scientific evidence.
Viruses naturally mutate as they transmit and replicate, and there is no evidence that the mRNA vaccines contribute to this. Specifically for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the COVID-19 Delta variant had already developed before the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines, and caused a major COVID-19 wave globally, and many deaths around the world.
Contrary to what Dr Oon said, the mRNA vaccines also do not contain the live SARS-CoV-2 virus. The mRNA vaccine comprises RNA material, which is translated to a viral protein, that triggers the immune response in humans. It does not rely on inactivation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
On the suggestion to take antiviral drugs like Tamiflu to treat COVID-19 as it is a potent neuraminidase inhibitor, we would like to highlight that Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is used to treat influenza infection. Multiple studies have found that Oseltamivir was ineffective in inhibiting SARS-Cov-2 in vitro, did not improve patients’ symptoms, and also did not slow down disease progression.
Finally, there is a very big body of scientific evidence that shows that vaccination reduces the risk of severe illness and deaths amongst those infected with COVID-19. This is the primary reason why Singapore recorded one of the lowest excess death rates in the world during the pandemic – because the great majority of Singaporeans took the vaccines. The protection is not 100%, which means that a small proportion of vaccinated individuals still unfortunately succumb to the infection, especially if they are old and vulnerable. But that does not mean the vaccines caused the deaths. The COVID-19 virus did, and the vaccines, while effective, could not protect all.