Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine recipients not included in Singapore's national vaccination count

The Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the national vaccination programme.
The Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the national vaccination programme.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Individuals who have received the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine are not included in Singapore's national vaccination numbers.

"The national vaccination numbers reflect only those vaccinated under the national vaccination programme," the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (July 6).

"Currently, this only includes those vaccinated with the Moderna Covid-19 and Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccines."

However, MOH said those who have received the vaccine will have the record reflected in the National Immunisation Registry. It is working on showing the information in the HealthHub mobile app as well.

The Sinovac vaccine has shown variable protection across multiple studies carried out internationally, with the most complete analysis showing an efficacy of 51 per cent. In contrast, the Moderna Covid-19 and Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccines have shown an efficacy rate of around 90 per cent.

As of July 3, one dose of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine has been given to 17,296 people.

The 31 private clinics selected to administer the Sinovac vaccine can access the National Immunisation Registry, MOH added.

"Individuals who were vaccinated with either one or two doses of the mRNA vaccine under the national vaccination programme would not be eligible to receive the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine from the Government's stock, unless they were allergic to the first dose of an mRNA vaccine," said MOH.

Those who had allergic reactions to the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccines can opt to get vaccinated, but only at a public hospital clinic. This is considering "their previous allergic reaction and a lack of data on the safety profile of receiving Sinovac-CoronaVac following one dose of an mRNA vaccine", MOH said.

Clinics administering the Sinovac vaccine are required to report adverse events or reactions to the ministry and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). The figures for these incidents will be reported publicly "from time to time", MOH said.

The first batch of Sinovac vaccines arrived in Singapore on Feb 23, but the vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the national vaccination programme. The Chinese drugmaker has not submitted data which the HSA needs to complete its evaluation of the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

The vaccine is currently being administered in Singapore under the Special Access Route in order to enhance overall vaccination coverage.

This allows the supply of Covid-19 vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organisation to be on its emergency-use list.

Singapore’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak had said last month that the Sinovac vaccine carries some risk of a person being infected despite taking the jabs, based on evidence from other countries.

For instance, there has been a recent report of healthcare workers in Indonesia being infected even after receiving the Sinovac vaccine, and in other countries, the authorities are starting to think about booster doses just six months after the original vaccination, Associate Professor Mak added.