No plans for mandatory COVID vaccinations in Singapore: MOH official

Row Covid-19 or Coronavirus vaccine flasks on white background
COVID-19 vaccine flasks. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — There are no plans to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines used in Singapore have not been fully registered, said a senior Ministry of Health (MOH) official on Friday (24 September).

Three mRNA vaccines made by the companies have been granted interim authorisation under the pandemic special access route in Singapore and are used in the city-state's national vaccination drive.

The companies have not submitted applications to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for full registration, said the MOH’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak during a virtual media conference by the multi-ministry COVID-19 taskforce.

"We look forward to that data being submitted in the near future. And once that data has been reviewed by the HSA, and if the HSA thinks the data is more robust enough to allow for that full registration to take place, that gives us greater confidence knowing that we can then use both mRNA vaccines across different settings," said Associate Professor Mak.

Reuters had earlier on Friday reported that Pfizer is discussing with the HSA regarding its full licence application for its COVID-19 vaccine.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine last month, and on Wednesday authorised its booster dose for those 65 and older, people at high risk of severe disease, and others who are regularly exposed to the virus.

Moderna's application for full approval by the FDA for its vaccine remains under review.

To date, 82 per cent of the population in Singapore have completed their full regimen, or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and 84 per cent have received at least one dose.

Singapore's booster vaccine programme began last week for those aged 60 and above who had completed their vaccination regimen at least six months ago. Almost 91,500 seniors have received their booster dose as of Thursday.

On Friday, authorities announced those aged 50 to 59 who are eligible will be progressively invited from 4 October to receive their booster dose.

Under the booster programme, those who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine can opt to take a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine, and vice versa.

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