Experts divided on effects as young in Singapore take up Covid-19 vaccine faster than old

The higher rates among the young could help make up for the shortfall in vaccination of seniors. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Experts are divided on the effects for the elderly as the proportion of vaccinated younger people overtakes that of seniors.

As at last Tuesday, those aged 40 to 59 made up the highest proportion - 86 per cent - of people who have had at least the first dose of the vaccine or booked an appointment to get it. This was followed by those aged 60 to 69, 12 to 29, 30 to 39, and finally those 70 and up.

Only 71 per cent in this last group had done so.

Professor Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University Hospital's Division of Infectious Diseases, said the higher rates among the young could help make up for the shortfall in vaccination of seniors.

Professor Josip Car, director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at Nanyang Technological University's Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, however, said that the higher vaccination rates among other age groups may complicate the situation for the elderly as the country opens up.

The circulation of the virus may increase, with many infected people displaying very mild or no symptoms due to the vaccines. The elderly may then catch the disease from these people, he said.

In contrast, Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of research at the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said that high coverage among the young will lower community transmission and thus slow down the number of deaths in unvaccinated elderly.

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