SINGAPORE — The first batch of seniors aged 60 and above in Singapore who completed their COVID-19 vaccination in March, will be eligible for a third vaccine dose this month.
The announcement by the multi-ministry COVID-taskforce on Friday (3 September) comes on the heels of recommendations for seniors here, as well as residents of aged care facilities, to receive a booster dose of the same mRNA vaccine six to nine months after completing their vaccination regimen.
Those who are immunocompromised, and are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, are also recommended to receive a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine two months after completing their vaccination regimen.
These recommendations to commence a booster programme for the two groups of people come after the expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination reviewed the available evidence, as well as scrutinised the safety and efficacy of booster doses administered globally, said authorities during the virtual press conference.
"With the more transmissible Delta variant, it is not likely that countries can achieve herd immunity without a very high population vaccination rate of well over 90 per cent. There has also been emerging data on the waning of vaccine efficacy against infection with time," said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The ministry added that these recommendations are aligned with vaccination measures adopted in other countries, such as Israel and Germany. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved a third dose for immunocompromised individuals and is considering its recommendation for seniors.
Vaccination rates high
As of Thursday, 80 per cent of Singapore's total population have completed their full regimen and 83 per cent have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. This means that 88 per cent of Singapore's eligible population have completed their full regimen.
Currently, only two vaccines, both mRNA-based, have been approved for use in Singapore's national vaccination drive: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
However, those who receive COVID-19 jabs that are under the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency use listing are also recognised as fully-vaccinated two weeks after completing the vaccine regimen. These include shots made by AstraZeneca, Covishield, Janssen or Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
The vaccination of children below the age of 12 is expected to start early next year in Singapore, after authorities have properly studied the safety and efficacy aspects.
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