Singapore continues to make steady progress with our vaccination programme. As of 17 May, more than 3.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered, with close to 2 million individuals who have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
To date, about 71% of eligible seniors aged 60 and above, and close to 66% of eligible persons aged 45 to 59 years old have received the COVID-19 vaccination or booked their vaccination appointments.
Start of vaccination for those aged 40 to 44 years old
The next band of those aged 40 to 44 years old will be invited to register for their COVID-19 vaccinations from Wednesday, 19 May 2021. Singapore’s supply of vaccines has been steadily coming in but remains limited given the high global demand. Singapore will continue to roll out the vaccination programme, but now in five-year age bands – starting with those aged 40 to 44 years old and progressively moving to younger age groups.
Individuals can only register online via vaccine.gov.sg
More appointment slots for vaccination will be made available as more supplies arrive. Singapore remains on track with our COVID-19 vaccination programme.
To provide vaccines for more people, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on COVID-19 will be prioritising first doses of the vaccines and extending the interval between the first and second doses from 3 or 4 weeks, to 6 to 8 weeks. This will apply to vaccination registrations that occur from Wednesday, 19 May 2021.
Those who already have appointments for their second doses will not be affected.
This approach is adopted in consultation with the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination which had studied scientific evidence globally in clinical trials and real-world roll-out of these vaccines. The maximum interval between mRNA COVID-19 vaccines could be extended to up to eight weeks to maximise vaccine coverage, without materially impacting the eventual overall immune response, as long as the second dose is eventually administered.
This conclusion is based on the data from the original mRNA trials, which has been bolstered recently by emerging information from real-world observations, laboratory studies and simulations. The approach of prioritising first dose vaccinations has also been adopted by countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany.
HSA approval of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12 to 15 years old
As for individuals aged 12 to 15 years old, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine under Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR). The Expert Committee has also endorsed this extension of the interim authorisation of the vaccine by HSA to this age group.
The Committee considered the safety, efficacy and tolerability of the vaccine, and the study design of clinical trials for this age group. The data showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated high efficacy consistent with that observed in the adult population. Its safety profile is also consistent with the known safety profile in the adult population and the standards set for other registered vaccines used in the immunisation against other diseases.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will work with the Ministry of Education (MOE) on vaccination for this school-going age group and provide further updates in due course.
Improving access to COVID-19 vaccination for homebound persons
To facilitate the vaccination of homebound persons who are unable to travel to a vaccination site, MOH has worked with the Health Promotion Board and the Agency for Integrated Care to deploy home vaccination teams, comprising a doctor and a nurse, to vaccinate these persons at their homes.
Eligible homebound persons receiving home medical, nursing or personal care services will be approached by their current home care service provider to ascertain their interest in getting vaccinated through this service. If they have not been contacted, they can register their interest directly with their current home care service provider.
Homebound persons currently not receiving these home care services can appeal for this service by calling the MOH hotline 1800-333-9999. This service is strictly meant for persons who are homebound. Persons who are not homebound are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to get vaccinated at any of the vaccination sites, when vaccination is offered to them.
Updated guidance for use of masks
The use of masks continue to be one of the key public health strategies in preventing disease by reducing the expulsion and transmission of droplets. The recent clusters suggest a higher level of transmission, likely attributed to new virus variants.
MOH and HSA will put up guidelines to aid the public in choosing good masks.
Staying home to keep our community safe
During this period of heightened alert, everyone is strongly encouraged to remain at home, and leave the house only for essential activities. All prevailing safe management measures should be adhered to.
For more information, click here for MOH’s press release.