MOH debunks rumours linking boy's death to COVID vaccination

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
A doctor is vaccinated at Gleneagles hospital, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A person being vaccinated against COVID-19 in Singapore. (Reuters file photo)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has debunked rumours that a 16-year-old boy had recently died after receiving COVID-19 vaccination.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (14 July) evening, MOH said it was aware of "speculation in Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp chat groups" about an obituary that led to the "conjecture that the teenager had died from a vaccine-related severe adverse event.

"We wish to clarify that the demise mentioned in these posts and messages was not vaccine-related," said the MOH. 

"We urge the public not to spread unsubstantiated information which may add to the family’s grief or cause public alarm unnecessarily."

The obituary in question stated that the boy, who was born in 2005, had died on 10 July. 

Workers' Party (WP) MP Jamus Lim on Friday morning wrote on Facebook that he spoke with the boy's mother earlier this week.

The Sengkang GRC MP, who identified the teenager as an Anchorvale student, also mentioned that the boy "passed for non-vaccination-related reasons" but did not specify them.

Associate Professor Lim stressed for those who had received misinformation about the boy's death to refrain from sharing it "as a gesture of respect for the privacy of the family, and as a mark of honor to the boy, who was an accomplished individual that should be remembered for different things: his filial piety, his sporting prowess, and his academic successes".

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The MOH last Monday said that it is investigating an incident involving a 16-year-old boy who suffered a cardiac arrest after lifting weights six days into receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine. 

A senior MOH official later revealed that the boy had been taking supplements and was lifting weights almost twice his body weight at the gym on the day of his collapse.

In response to queries by Yahoo News Singapore, MOH said on Thursday that the boy has been transferred out of the National University Hospital (NUH)'s intensive care unit to a high dependency ward in the coronary care unit for "close monitoring and observation".

He remains stable and the MOH added that it is still investigating the underlying cause leading to his cardiac arrest.

As of 30 June, there have been 12 reports of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, or inflammation of the lining around the heart, occurring in individuals following their vaccinations with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines authorised for use in Singapore under the nationwide programme are based on mRNA technology.

Five of the cases occurred in adults aged 30 years old and above.

The remaining seven involved males aged below 30 years old, higher than expected for the particular age group, based on background incidence rates.

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