My Decision to Get the Vaccine : My Decision Process

Many of you have been surprised at my decision to take the jab. To be honest, I was surprised too when I was going through this dilemma. To jab or not to jab? Sinovac or Biontech? Fly or not to fly? Currently at date of writing, Hong Kong is 16% fully vaccinated (2 doses) and 21% 1st dose vaccinated. I now fall into this 21%.

After much prayer, internal struggles, research and  seeking various doctors and fellow cancer survivor’s advice and perspective, I finally made the decision to get the Sinovac vaccine. It took me a good month.

Before I go further, I want to remind you that this is a very personal decision and I am in no means recommending anyone to take the vaccine or to take any specific vaccine. This is a decision you need to make on your own, together with your healthcare provider. For me I invited God into my decision as I do with many big decisions (and learning to do that with the small too).

To recap, Hong Kong currently has two vaccines available :

1. Sinovac Biotech’s Coronavac Vaccine which is a an inactivated virus, a technology used in traditional vaccines
2. Fosun Pharma’s Biontech Vaccine which uses a newer mRNA technology that has been studied but never used until now.

What is mRNA ?

In simple terms, mRNA, like DNA, are a set of instructions that direct our cells to make spike protein which the virus recognises in order to fight diseases. The RNA in Pfizer’s Biontech contains an RNA sequence from the virus itself which then instructs our cells to manufacture the spike protein which is needed for the virus to enter your body.
Read more about the coronavirus spike protein in my previous articles where I explained about the ACE2 receptor protein that is specific to COVID-19. And no, it cannot alter your DNA which I won’t get into here. But it is a newer technology that hasn’t been used widely and with this mass worldwide vaccination we simply don’t know the long term effects and nobody including the pharmaceutical companies, governments or your doctor can tell you otherwise.

Both vaccines are meant for your immune system to recognize COVID-19 to fight it. In the end, we still need to rely on our immune system to recognise the virus and to be strong enough to fight it.

How I came to decide on Sinovac? (because so many of you asked)

Below is the summary of my thought process. Again, please note that this is unique to me and my health history, needs and concerns.


Like all studies, a well rounded study should have a wide range of demographic, race, gender, health history etc. Since neither Sinovac or Biontech have this,  I went with the one that had more data closest to my race - Asian.


At the beginning of my decision making process, the data for Sinovac was very low. So low that a doctor friend explained that  ‘I may be better off just taking supplements’ (haha). But with more data being released from their Phase 3 clinical research and follow-up real-world studies in Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia and Chile that showed high levels of safety and efficacy of 100% against severe cases and hospitalization, bringing its overall efficacy to around 65% gave me a bit more assurance. In comparison, Biontech has an overall 95% efficacy rate

Minimised Risk

As a two time cancer survivor, I am extra careful about what I put into my body. And always looking at minimizing exposure to toxins and optimising my nutrient levels and health. At the beginning I thought that I would just rely on my immune system. I even bought a test to see if I may have developed antibodies to COVID in the past year and a half. Sadly, the test came back negative. At first, I chose Biontech, opting for higher efficacy, but with the unknowns and potential risks of the long term side effects like autoimmune diseases, coupled with my history of cancer, and current struggles with edema, I decided I wouldn’t risk it. At the same time, with my many rounds of chemotherapy, I feel that my immune system is also weaker and potentially more at risk of reacting more harshly to COVID-19. In the end, I decided Sinovac could still provide enough immunization to the virus to keep me out of the hospital. Essentially, instead of arming myself with just supplements and optimising my immune system, the vaccine is an added insurance to fighting COVID-19. Further, with the unpredictability of the Hong Kong government, I am unsure of whether Biontech (Pfizer) would be available in the long run and if boosters are required, a concern of mine would be mixing vaccines in the future.

Civic Duty & Future

The images from India pained me. Missing my best friend’s wedding broke my heart. COVID-19 had affected us in many ways and I am ready for our world to move forward to better days. To be honest, we’ve been so fortunate in Hong Kong compared to other countries, but I also see much suffering here. I visited the homeless in the underground tunnels, many of them are out of work because businesses closed down or had to close for COVID forcing them to take no pay leave or to be laid off.

With the outbreaks of the new variants that popped up in India and the seemingly random outbreaks in what we all thought was a controlled Taiwan, Singapore and Melbourne brought me to rethink my decision and to realize that it would be difficult to control this virus in other ways no matter how much we sanitise or how long we keep socially distanced for.

Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist

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