HSA evaluating if Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can be used for those aged 12 to 15

Currently in Singapore, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is only approved for those aged 16 and up.
Currently in Singapore, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is only approved for those aged 16 and up.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is currently evaluating whether the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for those aged 12 to 15, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament on Tuesday (May 11).

He was responding to a question from Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC), who asked whether those younger than 16 could be included in Singapore's Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Mr Ng's question follows mounting concern about Covid-19 clusters in schools.

On April 30, a 15-year-old student at Edgefield Secondary School tested positive, leading to some 1,500 students, staff and external vendors of the school being swabbed. All tested negative.

On May 7, a Victoria Junior College student tested positive. Since then, over 2,200 students, staff, vendors and visitors have been swabbed. The results of the tests have yet to be released.

On Monday, United States Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorisation for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, allowing it to be used on those aged 12 to 15, widening its original range, which had been for those aged 16 and older.

Mr Gan said on Tuesday that currently in Singapore, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved only for those aged 16 and up, while the Moderna vaccine is for those aged 18 and up.

These are the only two Covid-19 vaccines currently available for use in Singapore.

Mr Gan added that initial data provided by both companies at the time they were granted interim authorisation for use of their vaccines in the Republic - under the Pandemic Special Access Route - did not include data on their use in younger populations.

However, supplementary data has since been submitted for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and HSA is currently evaluating it. The HSA will do the same for the Moderna vaccine when the data has been submitted, said Mr Gan, adding that more details will be shared when ready.

He also added that clinical trials are still under way for those younger than 12, and it may take more time to generate the necessary data.

Read key highlights from the ministerial statements on Singapore's Covid-19 situation here.