Govt to review when 'fully vaccinated' Covid-19 status expires for S'pore residents

People wearing face masks at the entrance of the vaccination centre at Sengkang Community Club.
People wearing face masks at the entrance of the vaccination centre at Sengkang Community Club.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The validity period during which Singapore residents will be considered "fully vaccinated" after their last Covid-19 jab will be reviewed as more data becomes available, the Government has said.

Under the current regulations, a person's vaccination status expires one year and 14 days after their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) was responding to a Forum letter published in The Straits Times on Wednesday (Nov 10) in which reader Lynn Tan Gek Lian highlighted how it had stipulated this validity period for a resident's vaccination status.

MOH said in a response published on Thursday that it regularly reviews evidence from studies in Singapore and abroad on the protection provided by Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Derrick Heng, MOH's deputy director of medical services for the public health group, said: "As these studies are ongoing, when enacting the regulations earlier, we had in the interim specified a duration of (one year)... to allow persons who have completed the primary series of their vaccinations to be exempted from vaccination-differentiated safe management measures."

Ms Tan's letter had raised concerns over the expiry of the vaccination status, given that most public spaces have rolled out vaccination-differentiation measures. She also highlighted the uncertainty over the longer-term health implications of routine booster shots.

Dr Heng said: "While two doses of the mRNA vaccines provide excellent protection against severe disease, there will be waning protection against infection. 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 added that 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. The ministry will then review the stipulated time frame.

As at Tuesday, 85 per cent of the population have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines while 86 per cent have received at least one dose, and 19 per cent have had boosters.

Last month, Reuters reported that Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said data from a phase three trial demonstrated that their Covid-19 vaccine was highly effective against the virus, including the Delta variant.

Pfizer had said its vaccine's efficacy drops over time, citing a study that showed 84 per cent effectiveness from a peak of 96 per cent four months after a second dose.