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The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination (EC19V) has recommended that all vaccinated persons aged 18 years and above should receive a booster dose at about five months after the last dose of their primary vaccine course, or as soon as possible thereafter, in order to maintain good protection against Covid-19.
This booster dose should not be delayed beyond nine months after the primary vaccine course, the committee noted in a subsequent news release by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Booster vaccination crucial
According to the EC19V, booster vaccination is crucial to ensure continued protection against Covid-19.
Local and international data show reduced vaccine protection against Covid-19 infection from around six months after completion of the primary vaccination series or earlier.
International data has also shown that protection against Omicron variant from a primary vaccination series is weaker compared to that against the Delta variant, while boosters increase the protection against infection and severe illness from Omicron.
Fully vaccinated only for 270 days
As per the committee's recommendation, from Feb. 14, 2022 onwards, a person will be considered as fully vaccinated only for 270 days (approximately nine months) after the last dose in their primary vaccination series, provided that they are:
- Persons aged 18 years and above who have completed the primary vaccination series of Covid-19 vaccines
- Eligible for booster vaccination
MOH said that these people should receive their booster shots from around five months thereafter and no later than 270 days thereafter, to ensure an optimal level of protection.
Upon receiving the booster, individuals will continue to be considered fully vaccinated beyond the 270 days.
If a person completed their primary vaccination series on June 1, 2021, they would be eligible for a booster shot five months later (Nov. 1 onwards).
They would have to receive their booster shot by Feb. 26, 2022 in order to continue to be considered fully vaccinated.
Persons who received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine should receive a booster dose of either mRNA vaccine around five months after the second dose, or as soon as possible thereafter.
This booster dose should not be delayed beyond nine months after the primary vaccine course.
Persons who had received two or more doses of the Sinovac-CoronaVac or Sinopharm vaccines as part of a three-dose primary vaccination series are strongly recommended to receive one dose of an mRNA vaccine as a booster dose.
Such persons who received an mRNA vaccine as their third dose should do so around five months thereafter.
However, those who received the Sinovac-CoronaVac or Sinopharm vaccine as their third vaccine dose should do so at three months thereafter, due to lower antibody levels generated by the third vaccine dose.
Individuals who have received recognised primary vaccination regimens other than the vaccines mentioned above are also recommended to receive a booster dose around five months, or as soon as possible thereafter.
This includes persons who had completed the primary series vaccination with other WHO EUL vaccines.
No boosters for vaccinated recovered Covid-19 persons
At this point in time, vaccinated persons who have recovered from Covid-19 do not require an additional booster dose.
However, recovered persons who were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated before their infection should receive one dose of the mRNA vaccine (or two doses if they are taking Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine) at least three months after infection to be considered as fully vaccinated.
The 270-day vaccination validity period does not apply to recovered persons who complete this vaccination requirement.
Top image from Ong Ye Kung's Facebook page.
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