Singapore Likely To Have A Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Exercise Soon
As Covid-19 vaccines became available globally, talks soon shifted to the need for booster shots to tackle the fast-evolving coronavirus.
On Thursday (19 Aug), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said it would be “very likely” that Singapore would start a Covid-19 vaccine booster exercise.
He also added that this would be necessary, especially for severely immunocompromised individuals. In other words, those with severely weakened immune systems.
Singapore’s Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination is currently drafting recommendations on the vaccine booster strategy.
Singapore currently reviewing need for Covid-19 vaccine booster shots
During a Multi-Ministry Task Force press conference on Thursday (19 Aug), Minister Ong shared that booster shots are currently being studied.
He said Singapore would “very likely” have to start a Covid-19 vaccination booster exercise.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), this ensures our population continues to be well protected against new variants.
Minister Ong added that this is necessary for immunocompromised patients. This group of vulnerable individuals includes:
- patients undergoing cancer treatment
- transplant patients
- patients on immunosuppressive therapy
- end-stage kidney disease patients on dialysis.
He explained that their bodies might react less to vaccines due to their conditions, even after 2 doses.
Using other countries as case studies
Singapore has the advantage of watching and learning from other countries that have started vaccinations earlier than us.
According to The Straits Times (ST), the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination will make recommendations for the booster programme soon.
They are currently studying other countries like Israel, which has started giving booster shots to the elderly and vulnerable individuals.
Other countries like Britain, Germany, and France have also announced they will be rolling out booster shots come September.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also made a new recommendation to administer booster shots 8 months after the 2nd dose.
Data suggests administering a different vaccine brings greater protection
In addition, the committee is studying the incidence of adverse reactions from booster shots and ways to mitigate risks.
They are also seeing if the same vaccine or a different one should be used. As of now, data suggests that administering a different vaccine may bring greater protection.
This is a strategy implemented by Britain, and the committee is keeping a close eye on the outcome, reported ST.
In the meantime, they are also closely monitoring the immune response of individuals here who have taken 1 dose of mRNA vaccine and switched to Sinovac after allergic reactions.
Regarding vaccination of children under 12, Minister Ong also added that this should begin in early 2022 after studies have been completed.
Hoping for the best outcome after reviewing case studies
Having achieved a high vaccination rate, Singapore is now looking towards the future.
While we might not be thrilled about getting another jab, experts are currently suggesting that this may be necessary soon.
With so many case studies from other countries available, we trust that the authorities will make the best decision for the people.
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Featured image adapted from Raffles Medical Group on Facebook.