Bookings open for new non-mRNA booster vaccine

Nuvaxovid shots can be taken by those who are medically ineligible to take mRNA vaccines

Bookings for Nuvaxovid, the first non-mRNA vaccine recommended as a booster dose by the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination, were made available to residents aged 18 and above from yesterday.

The new vaccine by American biotechnology company Novavax will start to be administered from next Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement yesterday that mRNA vaccines remain the preferred Covid-19 shots because of their higher efficacy and the stronger immune response they generate.

Noting that mRNA vaccines are inappropriate for some, MOH said: "Those who are medically ineligible to receive the mRNA vaccines should consider the Nuvaxovid."

Slots for receiving the new vaccine at any of the 20 participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) start next Wednesday.

The vaccine will also be available at the joint testing and vaccination centre in Bishan - at the former Bishan Park Secondary School - from May 24.

Participating PHPCs are listed at www.vaccine.gov.sg/locations

With the introduction of the Nuvaxovid vaccine, MOH also said the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine will be made available as a booster shot to only people who are medically ineligible to receive the mRNA vaccines and Nuvaxovid.

Previously, residents had to be ineligible for only the mRNA vaccines to be eligible for the Sinovac-CoronaVac shot.

The Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine is not recommended by the expert committee as it does not provide strong protection against Covid-19.

A study conducted by health experts in Singapore that was published last month found that Sinovac vaccine recipients are more than twice as likely to be infected with Covid-19 than Pfizer vaccine recipients and almost six times more likely to be infected than those who received the Moderna vaccine.

Individuals who are medically ineligible for the mRNA and Sinovac-CoronaVac shots will need to get Nuvaxovid or be reassessed by their doctors as medically ineligible for all vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme to maintain their vaccination status.

The validity of medical ineligibility memos issued before June 1 will expire on Aug 1.

Medical ineligibility memos issued from June 1 will be required for medically ineligible individuals to maintain their vaccination status after Aug 1.

MOH said: "Boosters and vaccinations remain a critical part of our Covid-19 strategy in ensuring our population is well protected against infection and severe illness."

As at yesterday, 92 per cent of Singapore's population have completed their primary vaccination series and 75 per cent have received their booster doses.

MOH said: "We urge all who are eligible for vaccinations and booster doses to receive them as soon as possible."

Residents can register their interest for the Nuvaxovid vaccine at vaccine.gov.sg

After a resident has registered, an SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to his phone number.

Clicking the link will direct the individual to the booking site, and bookings can be made there.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Bookings open for new non-mRNA booster vaccine. Subscribe