Seniors above 60 in S'pore to get 3rd mRNA vaccine shot

Both groups of people are at greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

Jason Fan | September 03, 2021, 06:56 PM

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) will commence a Covid-19 booster programme for two groups of people in Singapore, after receiving advice from the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination (EC19V).

This was announced the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) during a virtual press conference on Friday (Sep. 3).

For immunocompromised individuals and seniors

The booster programme will apply to two groups of people:

  1. Persons who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
  2. Persons who are aged above 60 years old, and residents of aged care facilities

According to the MTF, immunocompromised persons have a blunted immune response to vaccination, and are also at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

These individuals are recommended to receive a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine two months after their second dose, as part of their primary course of vaccination.

This is to ensure that they start off with an adequate protective immune response to vaccination.

In addition, seniors are also at risk of severe Covid-19 infection, and may develop a lower immune response from their two-dose vaccination regimen.

Many seniors were also vaccinated earlier compared to the rest of the population, so there is an expected decline of their Covid-19 immunity over time.

As a result, seniors should receive a booster dose of Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) mRNA vaccine six to nine months after having completed their primary course of vaccination regimen.

For the time being, this includes the Pfizer-BionTech Comirnaty and Moderna vaccines.

This is to ensure that they receive higher levels of protection and continued high levels of protection against severe disease, as well as to reduce the possibility of spikes in infections.

Booster shots aligned to vaccination measures in other countries

According to MTF, the addition dose recommendations for the two sub-groups of people are aligned to the vaccination measures adopted in other countries, such as Israel and Germany.

The US Food and Drug Administration has also approved a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals, and is considering its recommendation for seniors.

With the first batch of seniors aged above 60 having completed their second doses around March 2021, they will be eligible for the third dose within the month of September.

More details on the implementation of the booster shot will be announced later.

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