Children aged 5-11 in S'pore can start getting Covid-19 vaccine this year, once doses are here

Also, booster shots will be extended to those aged 18-29 from Dec. 14, 2021.

Nigel Chua | December 11, 2021, 09:56 AM

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Covid-19 vaccination will soon be available for those in Singapore above the age of five, after the Multi-Ministry Taskforce accepted the recommendation by the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination (EC19V) to use paediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine for children aged five to 11.

This was announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Dec. 10, which also said that the ministry plans to roll out vaccinations "before the end of this year", and as soon as deliveries of the vaccine doses are received.

The Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be granted approval for use in Singapore for those aged five to 11, said MOH.

Previously, Covid-19 vaccination was only available to those aged 12 and above.

Benefits outweigh risks

MOH said that the EC19V "has assessed that the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine outweigh the risks" when used in a paediatric dosage for children aged five to 11 years, especially given ongoing community transmission and the emergence of the Omicron variant."

Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Janil Puthucheary said in a Facebook post on Dec. 10 that vaccine efficacy for children aged five to 11 was estimated to be 90.7 per cent, in an ongoing study of over 2,000 children.

Also, he said that "side effects such as injection site pain, fatigue, headache, chills and fever were generally reported less frequently and were milder in severity in the children compared to adolescents."

He added that these side effects "generally resolve on their own within a few days of receiving the vaccine," and that there were also no cases of anaphylaxis or myocarditis/pericarditis in the study.

One-third dose for children

MOH said that the recommended dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine for those aged five to 11 is two doses of 10 micrograms each. This is one third of the regular dose used for those aged 12 and above.

Children aged five to 11 will receive their two doses at least 21 days apart, similar to the interval for those 12 and above.

According to MOH, the EC19V has recommends that children with moderate to severe chronic medical conditions should be prioritised for access to the vaccine.

Booster dose for those aged 18 to 29 from Dec. 14

MOH also said that those aged 18 to 29 will be able to receive their booster doses of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines from Dec. 14, 2021.

This is provided that they are eligible to receive the booster dose and completed their primary vaccination series at least five months ago.

Eligible individuals will be invited to make an appointment for their booster dose.

An SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to their registered mobile number to book an appointment on, said MOH.

They may receive their booster dose at any Vaccination Centre or participating Public Health Preparedness Clinic.

MOH said that those eligible for boosters are encouraged to take them "as soon as possible".

The ministry pointed out that 96 per cent of the eligible population have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines, while 30 per cent of the total population has already received their booster shots.

However, MOH added that "we need more people to be vaccinated and boosted, especially given the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is likely to established itself all over the world in the coming couple of months."

Those who are eligible to take boosters but have not received their SMS invitations can walk in to any Moderna Vaccination Centre to receive their booster vaccination without a need to book an appointment, MOH added.

Top image by Tobi Law/Unsplash

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