The entire adult population in Singapore will probably be able to register and receive their first vaccine dose by as early as the first week of August, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday, May 18.
MOH added that it is confident that the entire adult population can be vaccinated with two doses by the end of the year.
Vaccine dose interval to be extended
This is a result of extending the duration between the first and second dose from three to four weeks, to six to eight weeks, so as to allow more people to get their first dose, the ministry further elaborated.
The new vaccine dosing interval will apply to vaccination registrations that occur from Wednesday, May 19.
MOH also raised examples of other countries that have already undertaken this strategy, including the UK and Germany, adding that it has already consulted experts and looked at the available evidence today, such as international literature that points to the efficacy of this approach.
Extending the duration between the two doses does not cause detrimental effects to those vaccinated with the first dose, MOH said, adding that they will still be offered protection, and receive a robust immunological response.
In a press conference held on the same day, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung encouraged those who have booked their second dose appointments, but wish to volunteer to push the appointments back, to do so by calling the vaccination call centre at 1800 333 9999.
This is to allow more people to receive their first dose. "You will do another Singaporean a favour," he said.
Vaccinations for those who are homebound
In addition, MOH said they are working on strategies to improve on access to vaccination for the public, particularly those who are homebound with mobility challenges that make it difficult for them to make their way to vaccination centres.
MOH said in a press release that they are working with the Health Promotion Board and Agency for Integrated Care to deploy home vaccination teams, comprising a doctor and a nurse, to vaccinate these persons at their homes.
Eligible homebound persons receiving home medical, nursing or personal care services will be approached by their current home care service provider to ascertain their interest in getting vaccinated through this service.
If they have not been contacted, they can register their interest directly with their current home care service provider.
Homebound persons currently not receiving these home care services can appeal for this service by calling the MOH hotline 1800-333-9999.
Top image via Healthway Medical Group