Daily round-up, Sep 29: Singapore authorises Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for young children; Taiwan to end COVID-19 quarantine for arrivals
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Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in children aged six months through four years. The vaccination regimen for the primary series in this age group consists of three 3-microgram doses.
The first two doses should be administered three weeks apart, followed by a third dose to be administered at least eight weeks after the second dose, the Health Sciences Authority said.
Clinical data, based on an ongoing trial conducted by Pfizer, showed that the immune response in young children with a three-dose primary series was comparable to that in adults aged 16 to 25 years who received two higher doses of 30 micrograms as the primary series vaccine.
This is Singapore's second vaccine authorised for use in young children. The first, Moderna’s two-dose Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine, was in August approved for use in children aged six months to five years.
The Moderna vaccine will be available next month, while the Pfizer shot is expected to be available by the end of the year, MOH said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will on Friday (Sep 30) begin formally annexing 15 per cent of Ukrainian territory, presiding at a ceremony in the Kremlin to declare four Ukrainian regions part of Russia.
Agreements will be signed with Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions - "all four territories that held referendums and made corresponding requests to the Russian side", his spokesman said.
Ukraine and the West have rejected the hastily arranged votes, held in the occupied territories seven months after Russia's invasion, as illegitimate shams conducted at gunpoint.
Taiwan will end its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for arrivals from Oct 13. Arrivals will still need to monitor their health for a seven-day period and take rapid tests.
A series of other measures came into force on Thursday (Sep 29), including ending polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for arrivals and resuming visa-free entry for citizens of all countries that previously had that status.
Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told reporters that with a well vaccinated population and the pandemic under control at home, the time had come to reopen borders.
Two logistics workers who conspired to help smuggle the suspects in the multimillion-dollar Tradenation luxury goods scam out of Singapore in a lorry were sentenced to jail on Thursday (Sep 29).
Mohamed Alias, 40, and Mohamad Fazli Abdul Rahman, 38, received a year's jail each.
The two worked together to help smuggle Singaporean Pi Jiapeng and Thai national Pansuk Siriwipa into Malaysia for a fee. Pi and Pansuk were under investigation by the Singapore Police Force at the time over a series of alleged cheating cases.
In mitigation, both Fazli and Alias said they needed support their family.
Ash scattering garden in Choa Chu Kang receives 1,900 applications; another site to open by 2024: NEA
A new inland ash scattering site will open at Mandai by 2024. Called the Garden of Serenity, it will be introduced with the new Mandai Crematorium Complex.
The new complex will be Singapore's second such facility. Initially expected to be completed by end-2022, it was delayed, with its main contractor Greatearth Construction citing financial difficulties in 2021.
The first one at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex, which opened in May 2021, has received more than 1,900 applications as of mid-September.
With Singapore's ageing population, the annual number of deaths in the country is projected to double, said NEA. The projected doubling of annual deaths would drive demand for after-death services infrastructure and industry manpower.