COVID-19: HSA approves use of Moderna vaccine; first shipment expected to arrive in March

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (PHOTO: Alessio Coser/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has authorised the use of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore for individuals aged 18 years and above. Vaccination requires two doses of the vaccine to be administered 28 days apart.

In a media release on Wednesday (3 February), HSA said that its review of available clinical data found that the benefits of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the known risks. The vaccine had demonstrated a high efficacy of 94 per cent.

The Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination also announced that it has independently reviewed the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine’s safety and efficacy data for different population segments in Singapore, and welcomes HSA’s authorisation for use.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said it welcomes the expert committee’s endorsement, and will progressively roll out the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 18 years and above when shipments arrive.

The ministry expects the first shipment to arrive around March, if there are no disruptions to the schedule.

As of Tuesday, more than 175,000 individuals have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. About 6,000 of them have also received their second dose of the vaccine, and completed the full vaccination regimen.

Who should not receive the Modern vaccine

Based on the data accrued from clinical trials to-date, HSA said that the safety profile of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was generally consistent with other registered vaccines used in immunisation against other diseases.

Some common side effects that vaccine recipients may experience include pain, swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, fever, chills, vomiting, and joint pain after vaccination. These side effects usually resolve on their own within a few days.

As a precautionary measure, anyone with a history of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) or severe or multiple allergies to medicines or food should not receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnant women, severely immunocompromised persons and those under the age of 18 should also not receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as the safety and efficacy data for these groups of individuals are not available yet. Those who develop severe allergic reactions to the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine also should not receive the second dose.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is the second vaccine to be granted authorisation under the Pandemic Special Access Route, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Under this route, HSA can start evaluating new vaccines, medicines and medical devices without having to wait for the full data set to be submitted, giving HSA more time to review the submitted data, while companies continue with further clinical trials concurrently.

“HSA has applied the same rigorous evaluation processes, as with all vaccines, to ensure that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has met the required high standards of quality, safety and efficacy,” said Dr Choong May Ling, HSA’s chief executive officer.

“Our medicines advisory committee and panel of infectious diseases experts have supported HSA's recommendations to grant interim authorisation to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.”

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