Singapore extends COVID-19 vaccine doses interval from six to eight weeks
The new strategy will aim to get Singapore’s adult population vaccinated with at least one dose by August.
The duration for the interval between the first and second COVID-19 shots have been extended to six to eight weeks, up from the current three to four weeks.
The announcement was made by Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung at the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Tuesday (May 18).
The changes will apply to all who are registering for their vaccination starting from Wednesday (May 18). Those who have booked their second dose will not be affected but they may volunteer to delay their second dose by calling the vaccination call centre.
With the extended dose interval, demand for a second dose eases to allow more residents to receive their first dosage instead.
The strategy will also ensure that Singapore will be able to vaccinate its entire adult population, or 4.7 million people, with at least their first dose by August.
Decision made with consultation from experts
MOH explained that the latest change was decided in consultation with the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination.
With the extended interval, the overall immune response of individuals taking the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine will not be materially affected as long as the second dose is eventually administered.
This strategy is currently adopted in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany where the first shot has been found to provide at least 75 per cent protection.
Vaccination rollout for children and adults between 40 and 44 years old
Minister Ong also announced that children between 12 to 15 years old will soon be able to receive their vaccination.
The announcement was made after the Health Sciences Authority authorised the use of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on the age group. The vaccine was found to demonstrate high efficacy and safety on children that is consistent to that on adults.
It was similarly endorsed by the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination and is the first vaccine to be used in this age group.
The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education will provide further updates on the vaccination programme for school-going children in the age group at a later date.
Singaporeans between 40 to 45 years old will also be eligible to register for their vaccination starting Wednesday (18 May).
MOH explained that the vaccination programme will continue its rollout in five-year age bands starting from 40 to 44 years, before progressing to the young bands.
To book a vaccination appointment, individuals can register online at vaccine.gov.sg. A personalised booking link will be sent to eligible individuals within one to two weeks from their registration.
MOH strongly encourages Singaporeans who are medically eligible to register for their vaccinations once it is made available to them.