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MOH to review expiry date of COVID-19 fully vaccinated status as more data on boosters become available

MOH to review expiry date of COVID-19 fully vaccinated status as more data on boosters become available

The COVID-19 vaccine being administered at Kolam Ayer Community Club, Singapore, on Apr 21, 2021. (Photo: CNA/Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Nov 12) it will review the duration for which a person holds fully vaccinated status against COVID-19 as more data on booster doses become available.

The duration is currently 365 days, counted from 14 days after the second dose is administered, according to the Infectious Diseases (Mass Gathering Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019) Regulations 2021.

The 365-day duration was specified "in the interim" to allow people who have completed the primary series of their vaccinations to be exempted from vaccination-differentiated safe management measures, said MOH.

Fully vaccinated people in Singapore can dine in at F&B establishments and enter shopping malls, among other activities.

"While two doses of the mRNA vaccines provide excellent protection against severe disease, there will be waning protection against infection," said the ministry.

"Hence MOH recommends all eligible vaccinated persons to receive their booster doses to improve their protection against COVID-19 infection and reduce transmission. This will also further increase protection against severe disease."

MOH said studies on the protection provided by the vaccines are ongoing, adding that it regularly reviews evidence from such studies in Singapore and abroad.

"As more data becomes available, including on the increase in protection provided by booster doses, the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination will study the evidence and make its recommendations," said MOH.

The ministry said it will then review the stipulated timeframe for the fully vaccinated status.

MOH was responding to a reader's letter published in the Straits Times on Wednesday, which asked why an expiry date for "fully vaccinated" status was regulated, how the duration was chosen and what happens when the status expires.

As of Wednesday, 85 per cent of Singapore's population have been fully vaccinated, while 19 per cent have received booster shots.

Singapore started administering COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers on Dec 30 last year, before progressively rolling them out to the rest of the population.

The country started offering booster shots in September, initially to seniors and some immunocompromised people, before gradually expanding the booster programme. 

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Source: CNA/dv(gr)

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