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COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 6 months to 4 years to start from Oct 25

COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 6 months to 4 years to start from Oct 25

A medical worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Massachusetts, on Jun 21, 2022. (File photo: AFP/Joseph Prezioso)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of six months and four years starting on Oct 25, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Oct 7).

Children between the ages of five and 11 will also be able to get their booster doses from this date, MOH said in a news release.

This is "to ensure that our children attain a minimum level of protection and remain up-to-date with their vaccinations", MOH added.

Children aged between six months and four years will be able to receive the Moderna/Spikevax vaccine for their primary vaccination.

Those aged between five and 11 will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine as a booster dose.

"MOH has accepted the recommendation of the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V) that children aged six months and above be vaccinated against COVID-19," the ministry said.

"Following the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) authorisation of the Moderna/Spikevax vaccine for use in children aged six months to five years, the EC19V recommends the vaccine for primary vaccination for this age group."

The recommended Moderna/Spikevax vaccine dosage for this age group is two doses of 25 micrograms each, spaced eight weeks apart.

"The vaccine from Pfizer BioNTech/Comirnaty, which is a three-dose vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years, has also been approved and we are awaiting delivery. It should be available by the end of the year," MOH added.

From Oct 18, parents or guardians of children aged between six months and four years may register their interest for their child or ward to receive the Moderna/Spikevax vaccination here.

Designated COVID-19 vaccination centres for children

To facilitate vaccination for children, five designated vaccination centres offering the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty jab for those aged five to 11 and Moderna/Spikevax vaccine for those aged six months to four years will begin operations from Oct 25.

They are located at:

  • One Punggol
  • Our Tampines Hub
  • Queenstown Community Centre
  • Sembawang Community Club
  • Taman Jurong Community Club

MOH said these vaccination centres will be manned by staff members trained in administering vaccinations for children. 

The Health Ministry also said three polyclinics will come on board to support vaccinations for those aged six months to four years, while four polyclinics will support vaccinations for those aged five to 11 years old.

Selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) will also support the vaccination programme.

Parents or guardians can also locate the nearest vaccination site available for their child or ward at the VaccineGoWhere website

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FROM MRNA TO BIVALENT

MOH said it would also roll out bivalent vaccines for booster jabs later this month.

"This updated bivalent vaccine will provide better protection against newer COVID-19 variants," it said.

"MOH will therefore replace the original Moderna/Spikevax vaccines with the updated bivalent version from Oct 17, 2022, for all vaccinations using the Moderna/Spikevax vaccine, for all adults aged 18 years and above.

"Hence, for persons aged 50 and above, or for persons yet to achieve minimum protection, as they are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection, they should take the bivalent vaccines."

The Pfizer/Comirnaty bivalent vaccine is undergoing evaluation and is expected to be available by the end of this year, the ministry added.

It also announced a transition away from the current system of counting jabs.

"Instead of counting the number of shots and boosters we receive, we will transit to a new definition of up-to-date vaccination," the ministry said.

"This is similar to influenza vaccination, where individuals are advised to take them periodically, so as to protect ourselves against new strains of the endemic influenza virus as they arise."

Under this regime, MOH said it would recommend that those aged five years and above complete three mRNA or Novavax/Nuvaxovid doses, or four Sinovac-CoronaVac doses, to achieve minimum protection.

"After achieving minimum protection, persons aged 50 years and above should receive an additional booster dose between five months to one year from their last dose, to keep up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination," said the ministry, adding that it recommended taking the bivalent vaccine for this booster.

"Individuals will be considered up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination if they have received at least the minimum protection and their last vaccine dose was received within the past one year."

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Source: CNA/kg

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