Children aged five to 11 years are now recommended to receive one booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine, from five months after they have completed their second dose of the primary vaccination series.
This is to "sustain protection" against severe illness, and prepare for the next infection wave, said the Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) in a press conference on Aug. 24.
The Ministry of Health has accepted the recommendation from the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V) "in full".
The exercise is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of the year, following the end of examinations for primary schools.
Five dedicated vaccination centres
Five dedicated Vaccination Centres (VCs) will be set up across the island to administer the booster jab for children aged five to 11.
More details will be announced by MTF closer to the date.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has also just extended the authorisation of Moderna’s Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine, via the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) to children, including those aged six months up to five years old.
A decision on the recommendation for the vaccination will soon be made, shared MTF. If approved, the vaccination will be timed together with the booster exercise for children aged five to 11, and administered at the five VCs in Singapore.
Second booster for those aged 60 and above
In addition, all persons aged 60 years and above are now recommended to receive a second mRNA Covid-19 booster vaccine from five months after their first booster dose.
MOH noted that it has been over a year since the first booster jab was administered, with protection "to gradually wane". As such, a second booster is needed to "prepare for possible future infection waves".
According to the latest evidence, a second booster dose has been indicated to strengthen vaccine effectiveness against severe diseases "from 94 per cent to 97 per cent" for those aged 70 to 79, and "from 97 per cent to 98 per cent" for those aged 60 to 69.
Persons who are medically vulnerable are also encouraged to receive their second booster.
Previously, only persons aged 80 years and older were recommended to receive the second booster vaccine, and it was offered to those aged 50 to 79 years.
All persons eligible for their primary series vaccination, first booster or second booster can now receive their doses by walking into any of the 10 Joint Testing and Vaccination Centres (JTVCs) across Singapore.
Residents may also book an appointment at the JTVCs, participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs), or polyclinics via their SMS invitation.
Possible year-end wave expected
During the MTF press conference, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that "almost 80 per cent of the population" have since taken their booster shots.
"This is a key reason why we could ride through the current BA.5 variant without tightening SMMs, without having many severe cases, and without having our hospitals being overwhelmed.
So to prepare for a possible year-end wave we will have to expand our vaccination coverage.”
Top image via Chan Chun Sing Facebook