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Covid-19 vaccination extended to those aged 45 to 59: MOH

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is extending the national Covid-19 vaccination programme to younger age groups, starting with those who are between 45 and 59 years old.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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  • Residents between 45 and 59 years old may register their interest in being vaccinated from March 24 
  • They will receive an SMS a few days after registering, that allows them to book vaccination appointments
  • More than 300,000 residents have completed their vaccination

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is extending the national Covid-19 vaccination programme to younger age groups, starting with those who are between 45 and 59 years old. 

As of Tuesday (March 23), about 1,109,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered. More than 799,000 individuals have received at least one dose, of whom about 310,000 individuals have received their second doses, MOH said on Wednesday.

In a media statement, it said that residents in the 45-to-59 age group may register their interest in the Covid-19 vaccine with immediate effect at 

A short messenger service (SMS) will be sent to those who registered as soon as slots are available for booking. A personalised web link will be provided to enable them to book their vaccination appointments online. 

“This should happen within a few days of registration, but we seek everyone’s understanding that the timing may vary and it may take longer in particular if there is a delay in the vaccine delivery schedule,” MOH said. 

As the younger age groups are more familiar with using technology, MOH said that it will no longer send personalised letters of invitation to them. 

At a press conference by the multi-ministerial task force convened to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the authorities will continue to monitor vaccine supplies closely.

“We expect global supplies to remain tight and supply chains may be disrupted from time to time, which will affect our pace of vaccination,” he said. 

He also apologised for the hiccups and inconvenience that some residents may have experienced while the authorities iron out teething problems in the initial stages of the voluntary vaccination regime. 

Mr Gan reported that good progress has been made and that there will be enough vaccines for all Singaporeans and long-term residents by the third quarter of this year if vaccines arrive on schedule.

On that basis, the vaccination exercise will be able to be completed by the end of this year, he added. 

More than 55 per cent of seniors aged 60 and above have received their vaccination or made appointments to do so, MOH said.

Mr Gan said that there are now 31 vaccination centres, on top of the 20 polyclinics and 22 private clinics activated during public health emergencies, that are in operation. 

There will be a total of 40 vaccination centres by around mid-April. 


When asked why shipments of China’s Sinovac vaccine arrived before the authorities here approved its use, Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force with Mr Gan, said that the Government made advanced purchases of three Covid-19 vaccines, namely the Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna vaccines as well as Sinovac, even before they were approved for use last year. 

Pfizer BioNtech and Moderna vaccines have been approved and are being administered to the population here.  

Mr Wong said: “There was a committee looking at the whole range of vaccines that were available and we said that we were making advanced purchases — in a way, putting some bets in some vaccines, recognising that some of these vaccines may not turn out to be effective but we wanted to be able to do so early, so that we would be relatively early in the queue and we would be able to get some vaccines in for Singapore.” 

He added that the manufacturers completed their vaccine trials and submitted their data after the purchases were made. 

Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, who is MOH’s director of medical services, said that the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) designed a pandemic-specific approval framework that allowed for vaccine data to be submitted to them as it became available, in order to shorten the approval process. 

There was thus no need to wait for the complete data to be available since it could be submitted progressively. 

“It so happened that for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the data have been submitted in a timely fashion that allowed HSA then to grant approval soon after or just before these vaccines arrived on our shores. 

“And therefore, there is the perception that the approval came and vaccines were then delivered in short order.”

In reality, this was based on a timeframe that already had been planned and then committing to it under the advanced purchasing agreements.

Assoc Prof Mak added that the delivery of about 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines was based on the advanced purchasing agreement, and that there was “no coercion” or “influence by other bodies”. 

Unfortunately, the manufacturer of Sinovac has not submitted a complete package of the data necessary for HSA to complete the evaluation process. The authority has asked for more information while it continues to evaluate and process the data that has been submitted. 


With Singapore in talks with other jurisdictions on mutually recognising vaccination certificates to revive cross-border travel, the task force was asked whether the Government would recognise just the vaccination certifications of vaccines that are approved for use in Singapore. 

Mr Wong said that regardless of the type of vaccinations used in places overseas, if it helps to reduce their coronavirus infection rates, such that they become high-risk to low-risk jurisdictions, then mutual travel between these countries and Singapore without having to keep to an isolation period may be possible. 

He added that the authorities will still want to have some form of testing for individuals entering Singapore regardless of the type of vaccine they have received.

It might include an antibody test to ascertain that the person has been vaccinated and also has the antibody response to the vaccine. 

“It’s not just looking at vaccines alone, but it’s looking at broader considerations, including the overall situation in the country and the possibilities of additional tests that can be administered,” Mr Wong said. 

Singapore will continue discussions with other countries in working out the best way to facilitate travel in a safe manner.

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vaccination MOH Covid-19 coronavirus

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