Dear bloggers, as you may all know, the global COVID-19 crisis has reached the end of its second year. With more variants emerging, such as Delta and Omicron, these have indeed become areas of concern for most of us across this world. Luckily, different types of vaccines have been rolled out to help combat this mutant virus. You may have been aware that there are several types of vaccines available, including mRNA vaccines (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna) and inactivated vaccines (i.e., Sinovac, Sinopharm, CoviVac), depending on which country you are currently living in and which vaccine types are both recognized and approved for use in your country or region.
Before you get your COVID-19 vaccinations, it is advisable to study the many vaccines beforehand as I understand that some of you may have allergies to the chemicals utilized in them. Once you have carefully studied the vaccines, choose the COVID-19 vaccine that you think will resonate best with you and receive the number of vaccine shots required. For instance, in my family, we wisely decided to go with two Sinovac CoronaVac doses due to its nature as an inactivated vaccine type and that we are unable to take activated mRNA vaccines for medical reasons related to allergies to the chemicals used.
Once you have received the two COVID-19 vaccination shots, it is normal to experience certain side effects (i.e., swelling, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting) after each dose, depending on which vaccine brand you take. Should these side effects persist after a few days, it is best to either consult a doctor or a medical practitioner as soon as possible. It is even wise to abstain from any strenuous activity for at least a week or two following each dose to permit your body to build up sufficient immunity against COVID-19.
With vaccinations being rolled out worldwide, it also brings a sense of hope of border reopening for several countries and international travel returning albeit at gradual levels. Some countries like Japan and Mainland China may be unwilling to reopen their major borders despite having high vaccination rates amongst their populations (e.g., Mainland China still sticking on to its zero-COVID strategy), while some countries choose to treat COVID-19 as an endemic or seasonal disease instead of a natural disaster, although this will likely come at costs of increased crime rates in several developing countries, particularly violent crimes, and higher rates of hate crimes post-pandemic.
However, it is also important to realize that though you may be completely vaccinated against COVID-19 with the required vaccination doses, it is best not to be complacent as there is still a chance that you and / or your family could become infected and / or test positive for COVID-19. Should you feel the need to venture out of home, continue to wear masks, observe all safe distancing guidelines and practice ample hygiene. Should you test positive and / or be infected with COVID-19, isolate yourself at home and rest until you are completely recovered. If your COVID-19 symptoms persist or if you experience other COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting), consult a doctor or a medical practitioner as soon as you can.
On a brighter note, I am pleased to announce that with Singapore having a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) network with some major countries to resume global travel, I shall be embarking on a two-month long transpacific festive journey to California, United States, over both the Christmas and New Year festive vacation periods with my family. While it is quite disappointing that Japan is unwilling to join this major travel system with Singapore, I have to admit that it is better than being stuck in Singapore for 17 months or even more. A long major overseas vacation trip report on this shall follow once I have the time to publish it.
With 2021 showing at least some signs of recovery from the pandemic, may 2022 be a better year for us and may we see a greater extent of recovery in international travel over the course of next year. I also hope that Japan will have both the ability and willingness to recognize and accept wider ranges of COVID-19 vaccine brand types to securely facilitate its recovery from the pandemic and allow it to regain international visitors. Lastly, but definitely not the least, Merry Christmas 2021 and Happy New Year 2022!