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Singapore

COVID-19 booster jabs to be offered 5 months after second dose for all eligible age groups

SINGAPORE: Eligible individuals will be able to receive their COVID-19 booster jabs five months after completing their second dose, instead of six months. 

"It is evident that waning of antibodies can clearly occur by around six months after the second dose and occur earlier for older groups," the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Saturday (Nov 20). 

The expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination therefore recommends that the interval for booster jabs be standardised to five months for all eligible age groups. 

"This would be an appropriate interval to pre-empt waning of antibodies for all," said MOH.

The change will take effect on Nov 24.

Currently, the Health Ministry is administering booster shots six months after the second dose for people aged 30 to 59, and five months for those aged 60 and above. 

There is an emerging view among the global clinical and scientific communities that COVID-19 vaccination against the Delta variant is “really a three-dose vaccine, like (for) Hepatitis B”, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung at a COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Saturday.

From now until the end of December, the Government hopes to administer about 1.5 million booster shots, Mr Ong said.

This will raise Singapore's booster vaccination coverage from 21 per cent to 50 per cent, he added.

"This means by year-end, half of our population will be freshly boosted with high levels of antibodies," he told reporters.

In its press release, MOH said booster vaccination “significantly increases” protection against infection and severe disease, as well as prevents waning of vaccine protection.

“We encourage everyone eligible for the booster vaccination to receive it when it is offered to them, so as to achieve high levels of protection,” it added.

Those who are eligible for booster shots but have not received their SMS invitations may walk into any Moderna vaccination centre to receive the jab, without needing to book an appointment. 

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Source: CNA/ja(gs)

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