After more than two years of battling Covid-19, Singapore may have successfully transitioned to living with the virus, so say the experts. But with only 61% of the population with up-to-date vaccination, it pays to continue to stay vigilant about our health, especially with new variants threatening to emerge.
So one of the first things to do to keep yourself healthy in 2023 is to consider that second booster, says Dr Edwin Ong, medical director, RMDY Clinic. The bivalent – which protects against both SARS-CoV-2 virus and its Omicron variant – mRNA vaccine has been available for people 18 years and above since November.
While getting your Covid-19 vaccination up to date can help to reduce risk of severe illness, it doesn’t protect completely against the virus. And given that the virus can mutate over time, reinfection can occur.
Dr Ong explains: “While the immune response to Covid-19 is not yet fully understood, experts think that people suffer from reinfections for 2 reasons. Firstly, they had not built up a strong enough immunity and are more susceptible to the virus a second time. Secondly, the original infection was ‘biphasic’, meaning the virus lies dormant in the body until the patient becomes symptomatic with the same infection again.”
If anything, the pandemic has made everyone pay more attention to their own health – both physically and mentally. At RMDY Clinic, which opened in March 2022, more patients are approaching their medical needs with a preventive approach through, for instance, health screenings. “The greater peace of mind afforded by regular health screenings can promote a greater sense of wellness, so we can live healthier and better,” says Dr Ong.