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Booster jab needed for recovered Covid-19 patients aged 12 and above to keep vaccination status

SINGAPORE — From June 1, all patients aged 12 and above who have recovered from Covid-19 must get their vaccine booster shot within nine months of their last primary vaccination dose if they are to maintain their vaccinated status.

Booster jab needed for recovered Covid-19 patients aged 12 and above to keep vaccination status

A healthcare worker getting ready a vial of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Our Tampines Hub Vaccination Centre.

  • Recovered Covid-19 patients aged 12 and above will need to get their vaccine booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated
  • From June 1, they will need to receive the booster dose within nine months of their last primary vaccination dose
  • MOH will progressively close several vaccination centres from the end of May
  • People aged 60 to 79 may receive an optional second booster shot if they wish to do so
  • More booster shots may be required for all sooner or later as Covid-19 becomes endemic, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said

SINGAPORE — From June 1, all patients aged 12 and above who have recovered from Covid-19 must get their vaccine booster shot within nine months of their last primary vaccination dose if they are to maintain their vaccinated status.

The number of vaccination centres administering Covid-19 vaccines to the population will also be progressively reduced from the end of May, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Friday (April 22).

The changes were announced along with others on Friday, as various Covid-19 regulations and infection controls were relaxed.

The national Covid-19 task force chaired by various Cabinet Ministers said at a press conference as well that Singapore is lowering its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition, a colour-coded framework for the country's crisis management plan, from orange to yellow level for the Covid-19 pandemic.

VACCINATION FOR RECOVERED PATIENTS 

MOH said that in view of waning immunity, its expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination has recommended a booster dose for recovered patients aged 12 and above who have completed their primary vaccination.

This booster should not be delayed beyond nine months after they complete their first two doses. They should also receive their booster shot at least 28 days after the infection.

From June 1, these recovered patients must receive their booster dose to maintain their vaccinated status. They may receive the booster from any vaccination centre.

The ministry said that booster vaccination for recovered migrant workers living in dormitories, as well as migrant workers in the construction, marine and processing sectors who do not live in dormitories will be scheduled and announced at a later date.

OPTIONAL SECOND BOOSTER FOR SENIORS

The expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination has decided to offer the second booster shot to people aged 60 to 79 if they wish to get one, even though the committee is not recommending that they do so.

The second booster vaccine should be administered about five months after receiving the first booster, MOH said.

This is in addition to the earlier recommendation by the committee of a second booster for specific groups, such as those aged 80 and above and the medically vulnerable.

Those aged 60 and above may receive their second booster by walking into any vaccination centre offering the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines.

SECOND BOOSTER FOR EVERYONE IN FUTURE

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, one of the co-chairs of the task force, said that MOH and the expert committee agreed with the consensus among scientists worldwide that more booster shots will be necessary sooner or later as Covid-19 becomes endemic.

“This is not different from individuals having to take your annual vaccinations for influenza, which is an endemic disease.

“The question is when second boosters should be administered and then what vaccines to use,” Mr Ong said.

Booster shots need to pre-empt the outbreak of a new wave of infections, he added. If administered too early, it will be wasted. If administered too late, the disease would have caused damage in the population.

MOH is monitoring two indicators to determine when is a suitable time to proactively administer more booster doses, Mr Ong said.

First, it is monitoring if subsequent Omicron or a new coronavirus strain will lead to an infection wave breaking out in other countries.

When this occurs, the Government will roll out a second booster since it would then have a good idea of when a new wave may emerge in Singapore.

The second indicator that MOH is looking at is the level of vaccine protection against severe illness among the people here who have already received their first booster.

"Many scientists think this can hold out for as long as one to two years, maybe even longer and we will watch out for early signs of waning of vaccine efficacy against severe illness, which will indicate a need for a second booster," Mr Ong said.

CLOSURE OF VACCINATION CENTRES

With the number of vaccine doses administered reducing steadily over the past weeks, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that it will progressively close the number of vaccination centres from the end of next month to consolidate its resources and free up these spaces for other uses.

The vaccination centres closing on May 31 are:

  • Bishan Community Club
  • Arena@Our Tampines Hub
  • Buona Vista Community Club
  • Bishan Community Club
  • Hong Kah North Community Club
  • Clementi Community Centre
  • Radin Mas Community Club
  • Chua Chu Kang Community Club
  • Tampines East Community Club
  • Jalan Besar Community Club
  • Tanjong Pagar Community Club
  • Nanyang Community Club
  • Woodlands Community Club
  • Nee Soon East Community Club
  • Yew Tee Community Club
  • Pasir Ris Elias Community Club
  • Sengkang Community Club
  • Tanjong Pagar Community Club
  • Teck Ghee Community Club
  • The Serangoon Community Club
  • Toa Payoh West Community Club
  • Woodlands Galaxy Community Club

Vaccination centres closing on June 30 are:

  • Canberra Community Club
  • Bedok Community Centre
  • Punggol 21 Community Club
  • Canberra Community Club
  • Hougang Community Club
  • Queenstown Community Centre
  • Senja-Cashew Community Club

The vaccination centres at Raffles City Convention Centre and the former Hong Kah Secondary School will remain in operation.

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VACCINATION FOR TRAVELLERS

MOH previously announced that it will allow short-term travellers to pay to receive Covid-19 vaccines and boosters in Singapore.

They may now receive the Moderna vaccine under the Private Vaccination Programme at Healthway Medical located in Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital on Serangoon Road.

Interested travellers may contact the clinic directly.

NOVAVAX VACCINE INCOMING

Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at MOH, said during the press conference that MOH has given in-principle approval for the Nuvaxovid Covid-19 vaccine by American firm Novavax, but it is still negotiating with the vaccine's manufacturer about its delivery into Singapore.

"I understand that a vaccine batch... is currently undergoing batch testing.

"And we are hopeful that very soon, that batch may be delivered to Singapore," he added.

We endeavour to provide our healthcare staff with the opportunity to rest after months of hard work.
Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health

Assoc Prof Mak said that daily Covid-19 cases have been going down and stabilising at the present level of 3,000 cases. 

Overall, there are fewer than 13,000 patients recovering from Covid-19 but there are just 979 patients putting up in healthcare facilities here.

"These numbers continue to trend downwards as the overall incidence of community infections drops."

Assoc Prof Mak said that there is enough bed capacity for present and projected needs in hospitals and Covid-19 treatment facilities

In hospitals, beds that were earlier set aside for Covid-19 use are also being used now for non-Covid-19 patients, he added.

Hospitals have also allowed staff members to take leave while ensuring that essential services continue unabated.

"We endeavour to provide our healthcare staff with the opportunity to rest after months of hard work.

"We will also be bringing more non-Covid-19 patients back into the hospitals for elective clinical treatments and for reviews in the specialist outpatient clinics," Assoc Prof Mak added.

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