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Booster jabs must be taken within 270 days after last dose to be considered 'fully vaccinated': MOH

SINGAPORE — From Feb 14, a booster shot must be taken within 270 days, or nine months, of completing the primary series of the Covid-19 vaccine, for a person to maintain his status as "fully vaccinated", the national Covid-19 task force said on Wednesday (Jan 5).

Booster jabs must be taken within 270 days after last dose to be considered 'fully vaccinated': MOH

A vaccination centre at Bedok Community Centre.

SINGAPORE — From Feb 14, a booster shot must be taken within 270 days, or nine months, of completing the primary series of the Covid-19 vaccine, for a person to maintain his status as "fully vaccinated", the national Covid-19 task force said on Wednesday (Jan 5).

This affects those who are aged 18 and above and are eligible for the vaccine booster jab.

The move comes as international studies show that boosters increase protection against infection and severe illness caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, it said.

As such, the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination advising the Government has recommended that people aged 18 and above get a booster shot around five months after their two primary doses but no later than 270 days.

Presently, those who are eligible are invited to receive their booster jabs five months after their last dose. 

This applies also to those who have received non-messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) Covid-19 vaccines, such as the three-dose Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement: "For this group, most will not be due for booster for some time. We expect the Novavax vaccine, which is a non-mRNA vaccine, to be available to them as an option by then."

Those who have received two doses of the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccine and an mRNA vaccine for their third shot should get an mRNA vaccine dose as their fourth booster shot five months later, the expert committee recommended on Wednesday.

On the other hand, those who have received three doses of the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccine should get their booster shot three months after their last dose, the committee added. This is due to lower antibody levels generated by the third non-mRNA vaccine dose.

For example, someone who has completed his primary vaccination on June 1 last year would become eligible for a booster shot five months later, or Nov 1, 2021. He would have to receive the booster shot by Feb 26 this year in order to continue to be considered as fully vaccinated, MOH said.

No boosters are needed for now for vaccinated persons who have recovered from Covid-19, but infected persons who were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated before their infection should get a dose of an mRNA vaccine (two doses if they are taking the Sinovac vaccine) three months after their infection to be fully vaccinated.

Urging people to take their boosters promptly, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a press conference on Wednesday announcing the move: "Vaccines cannot last in perpetuity. The protection will wane after a few months and it needs to be restored with a booster."

An individual's "fully vaccinated" status affects how infection controls and regulations apply to them, such as access to malls, restaurants and libraries, Mr Ong said.

As to why the requirement will come into effect from Feb 14, Mr Ong said that this will give people whose vaccination status may lapse on or before Feb 14 a chance to get their booster jabs within the deadline.

"Those who have not reached the nine month expiry (date) or are medically ineligible for boosters, you will not be affected," Mr Ong added.

The authorities will also invite people aged 60 and above to receive their booster shots four months, instead of five months, after their last dose of vaccine, he added.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine vaccination MOH vaccine booster

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