Singapore, Ministry of Health, MOH, Vaccine, Booster shots, COVID19,

The booster vaccination programme will begin on 14 December, while vaccination for children aged five to 11 will begin by end-2021.

Per a recent update by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore will be extending vaccines to children aged five to 11, and booster shots to individuals aged 18 to 29 years.

Booster shots for individuals aged 18 to 29 begin on 14 December 

Starting 14 December 2021, MOH will extend the vaccination booster programme to individuals aged 18 to 29. All eligible persons will be able to receive their booster doses of the mRNA vaccine five months after completing their primary vaccination series.

Eligible individuals will receive an SMS with a personalised booking link sent to their registered mobile number to book an appointment, per the initial round of vaccine shots. They may receive their booster dose at any Vaccination Centre or participating Public Health Preparedness Clinic, MOH stated.

Approval of vaccine for children aged five to 11 Years

Upon approval by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to children aged five to 11. The use of the paediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine will be the first COVID-19 vaccine HSA has granted approval for use in Singapore for this age group.

The Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V) has also recommended its use for this age group. Having assessed vaccine, the EC19V has determined that the benefits outweigh the risks when used in a paediatric dosage, especially given ongoing community transmission and the emergence of the Omicron variant, MOH shared.

The recommended dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine for this age group is one-third of the usual dose used in persons aged 12 and above - i.e. two paediatric doses (10 micrograms each), that are spaced at least 21 days apart. Children with moderate to severe chronic medical conditions should be prioritised for access to the vaccine, as recommended by the EC19V.

Following the approval, MOH has signed a new supply agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for the COVID-19 vaccine which is expected to arrive before the end of December. MOH will work with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) to roll out vaccinations for this school-going age group, and the vaccinations are expected to start before the end of 2021.

Any further details will be announced by MOE and ECDA.

Overall, MOH has updated that 96% of the eligible population and 87% of the total population have completed their full regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines to date, while 30% of the total population has also received their booster shots.

Following the update, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post: "With these changes, we expect to administer over two million doses of vaccines over two months in Dec 2021 and Jan 2022.

"This is critically important, to help us prepare for the emergence of Omicron variant in Singapore. Preliminary studies have shown that it is more transmissible than Delta. Hence, it will be a matter of time before it establishes itself all over the world, and even overtake Delta as the dominant variant."

The MOH is encouraging everyone eligible for boosters to take them as soon as possible, especially given the emergence of the Omicron variant. 

Minister Ong added: "Initial indications are that Omicron infections cause milder symptoms. However, because of the potentially large base of infections due to high transmissibility, even a small proportion of people falling very sick can put our healthcare system under severe pressure."

For a full recap on what we know about the omicron variant as of now, click here

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Photo / Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung's Facebook

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