SINGAPORE - Members of the public who are awaiting their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine can now opt to get it earlier, as Singapore ramps up its vaccination exercise.
Checks by The Straits Times on Tuesday afternoon (June 29) found that several people who were able to book their second jab only about six to eight weeks after their first jab are now able to shorten the interval to four weeks.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in the evening that the move to shorten the interval took effect on Tuesday.
“All eligible individuals who make their vaccination appointments from June 29 onwards will be able to schedule their first and second dose appointments four weeks apart,” it said in a statement.
“Individuals who have already received their first doses, and with second dose appointments currently scheduled six to eight weeks later, can also rebook and bring forward their second dose appointments to four weeks from their first dose appointment.”
The move by the ministry to shorten the interval between the two jabs comes earlier than expected.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said last week that if vaccine supplies continue to arrive as planned, most of the population who are willing to take the vaccine will have received their first dose by the second half of July.
Once this target has been met, MOH will then review the current interval between doses of six to eight weeks and reduce it to four weeks.
The authorities had in May lengthened the interval between doses to prioritise giving out the first dose and accord some protection to as many in the population as possible.
The option for shortened intervals between jabs was first flagged by a user on social media platform Reddit early on Tuesday morning (June 29).
An IT consultant who wanted to be known only as Mr Chai, 28, said he moved his appointment on Tuesday morning after seeing the Reddit post.
He was due to have his second Moderna jab at Marsiling Community Centre on July 27, but brought it forward by 13 days to July 14.
"I brought it forward because I wanted to get it over and done with quickly," he said.
"It also seems like there will be more freedom for vaccinated people, such as not having to go for swab tests when attending events."
Accounts executive Sharon Soh, 28, on Tuesday afternoon also moved her appointment forward, by one week to Aug 6.
She received her first Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty jab at Chua Chu Kang Community Club on June 28 and was initially set to get the second jab six weeks later.
But she brought it forward after taking into account the health of her three-month-old daughter.
"I don't want to get infected and end up passing Covid-19 to her, so I wanted to get protection for myself as soon as possible," she said.
Meanwhile, undergraduate Valerie Ong, 20, managed to reschedule her appointment to Wednesday from July 11. She had called MOH four days ago to ask if she could reschedule her second jab, and they contacted her on Tuesday afternoon to confirm that she could do so.
She was due to fly to the United States for studies on July 18, and did not want to run the risk of having to travel while dealing with the vaccine’s side effects.
Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases specialist from the Rophi Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, said it was important to complete the two Covid-19 vaccine doses as quickly as possible, given that there is a risk of falling sick between the first and second dose.
He noted that studies have shown that completing one of the two-dose vaccine regimen would afford only about 30 per cent protection against the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, compared to 88 per cent after completing both doses.
Those who want to check if they can change the date of their second dose can do so at the Covid-19 vaccination appointment booking website with their booking code and ID.