Boy wrongly given Moderna Covid-19 jab: Vaccination registration process to be reviewed

There will be also be extra layers of checks at all centres that offer the Moderna vaccine. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Officials will look again at the vaccination registration process to try to minimise any errors after a 16-year-old boy was wrongly given a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine dose, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Friday (June 4).

There will also be extra layers of checks at all centres that offer the Moderna vaccine to ensure it is given to only those who are eligible, he added. The Moderna vaccine has not been authorised for use in Singapore for those under 18.

Ministry of Health (MOH) staff have also been briefed thoroughly, Mr Chan said.

The debrief covered both the online vaccination registration process as well as verification on site, he said.

"We have issued instructions, particularly to all the centres offering Moderna. It is less of an issue for the centres offering Pfizer...

"We want to make sure that all the Moderna centres put in an extra layer of checks to make sure that whoever goes to the Moderna centres is eligible for the Moderna vaccine.

"But having said that, the final layer of checks must be on the ground, whereby prior to the vaccination, the staff will check and verify the IC number, the allergies, the age profile of the person coming in for the vaccination."

Mr Chan did not share any further details about the case, saying only that the teenager and his family are coping well.

He said: "There are no adverse side effects thus far, but we will continue to make sure that we keep an eye on the health and safety of the student.

"The parents are calm, and we are working closely with the family to support the parents and to make sure that the health and well-being of the child are well taken care of. Thus far, things are in good order."

The minister was speaking at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central in Ang Mo Kio, one of four dedicated vaccination centres for students that will begin operations on Monday (June 7).

The centres are being set up by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Health Promotion Board.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing (centre) speaking with people waiting at the MOE vaccination centre at ITE College Central, on June 4, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

There are two other dedicated vaccination centres located at ITE college campuses in Choa Chu Kang and Simei.

The fourth centre will be at Raffles City Convention Centre.

The 16-year-old boy was wrongly given the first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccination centre in Kolam Ayer Community Club. The centre is operated by Minmed Group.

The teenager was incorrectly registered as being above 18. His date of birth was entered incorrectly during the vaccination appointment booking process.

This made it possible for a Moderna vaccination centre to be selected.

At the vaccination centre, staff did not check the boy's age during registration.

The error was discovered only after the teen got his jab.

In a statement late on Thursday night, MOE and MOH said the boy is not expected to suffer any safety issues due to the error.

The ministries said that they took a serious view of the incident and apologised for the inconvenience and anxiety caused.

MOH is now conducting a review of internal processes at vaccination centres to prevent a recurrence.

This includes strengthening the online registration process and putting in place more stringent protocols at vaccination sites to verify eligibility.

MOE and MOH said the teenager was placed under post-vaccination observation for 50 minutes, instead of the usual 30 minutes, as an added precaution.

The boy was generally well.

The ministries said they are in close contact with the boy and his family, and will monitor his health closely.

The medical team will consult Singapore's expert committee for Covid-19 vaccination on what would be best for the boy with regard to the completion of his vaccination.

Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorised for use in Singapore for children aged 12 to 17.

While data from a trial involving more than 3,700 adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States found that the Moderna vaccine is safe and effective for them, it has not been authorised for use in Singapore for those under 18.

When the vaccine was granted interim authorisation in February, the Health Sciences Authority had said that safety and efficacy data for the vaccine on those under 18 was not available at the time.

Since Tuesday, students taking their N, O, and A-level examinations as well as those in polytechnics or their first year of junior college have been invited to take the vaccine.

The entire vaccination exercise for students - which includes full-time students in continuing education and training programmes, such as those enrolled in master's programmes - is expected to be completed by August.

Besides the four dedicated MOE vaccination centres, vaccinations for students are also available at community clubs islandwide.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.