Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

2-dose Covid-19 vaccination to have limited validity; booster shot required to be fully vaccinated: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE — A person's fully vaccinated status will only be valid for a certain period, after which a booster shot will be required to maintain that status, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (Dec 14). 

2-dose Covid-19 vaccination to have limited validity; booster shot required to be fully vaccinated: Ong Ye Kung
Data has shown that the initial two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine do not provide as much protection against the new Omicron coronavirus strain. 
  • Singapore needs to treat Covid-19 vaccination as a three-dose regime, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said
  • This means that soon, to be considered fully vaccinated, a person will need to have a booster shot
  • More details of this new policy will be released at the end of 2021 or early 2022

SINGAPORE — A person's fully vaccinated status will only be valid for a certain period, after which a booster shot will be required to maintain that status, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (Dec 14). 

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is now consulting the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination advising the Government on the appropriate duration of this validity period before a person's full vaccination status lapses, he added.

Speaking during a media conference by the national Covid-19 task force, Mr Ong urged residents to take vaccine boosters because data has shown that the initial two doses do not provide as much protection against the new Omicron coronavirus strain. 

The task force said that there is no evidence yet of community transmission of the new variant here, but it will be a matter of time before clusters start to form. 

"With waning protection, full vaccination status cannot last perpetually," Mr Ong said. 

"We need to treat Covid-19 primary vaccination as a three-dose regime," he added, reinforcing a point he made recently. 

For now, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after he or she gets a second shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BionNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

Those who took the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccine are considered fully vaccinated if they take three doses. 

Explaining the reason for this policy change, Mr Ong said that a study in the United Kingdom showed that Pfizer-BioNTech's effectiveness against symptomatic infection of the Omicron variant was 90 per cent one month after the second dose.

It dropped to 50 per cent after three months and then 35 per cent after four months. 

However, with a booster, the effectiveness jumps back up to 75 per cent two weeks later. 

"That is why vaccination will continue to be central to our response," he said.

"So take our boosters and our full vaccination status will be extended." 

This means that if a person does not take a booster before the validity period expires, he or she will not be considered fully vaccinated and will not be able to eat out or take part in activities that are only open for fully vaccinated individuals.

Details of this new policy will be released at the end of this year or early next year, he added.

However, Mr Ong said that a person's full vaccination status will not lapse if he or she have not had a chance to get a booster shot. 

This also applies to groups of people who are not eligible for a booster, including those aged 18 and below. 

The Government recently announced that it will start vaccinating children aged five to 11 and extending boosters to young people aged 18 to 29.

Describing these as "significant moves", Mr Ong said this means that in December 2021 and January 2022, Singapore is expected to administer 2.1 million doses of vaccines. 

This is 700,000 more doses than if the national vaccination programme was not expanded.

It would also mean that by the end of January next year, about 54 per cent of Singapore's population would be covered by booster shots.

For people taking vaccine boosters, the monitoring time at the vaccination centre or clinic will be reduced from 30 minutes to 15 minutes, because data has shown that there is a very low incidence of acute adverse reactions after the injections. 

The move will expand Singapore's booster delivery capacity, Mr Ong said.

He also noted that there are now 160,000 unvaccinated residents, including 40,000 people aged 60 and above who remain at high risk of falling very sick or dying if they are infected with Covid-19.

Besides stepping up vaccination and booster shots, the task force on Tuesday announced that it will be adjusting Singapore's healthcare protocols, boosting healthcare capacity and tightening infection controls and regulations to counter the threat posed by the Omicron variant.

Related topics

Covid-19 MOH Ong Ye Kung vaccination vaccine booster coronavirus vaccine

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa