S'pore approves Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine; first shipment to arrive around March

The vaccine demonstrated a high efficacy of 94 per cent.
The vaccine demonstrated a high efficacy of 94 per cent.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore has approved Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine for use here, with the first shipment expected to arrive in March.

In a statement on Wednesday (Feb 3), the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said its review of the available clinical data found that the vaccine demonstrated a high efficacy of 94 per cent, with the benefits outweighing the risks.

This means that there is a 94 per cent reduction of symptomatic Covid-19 disease in a vaccinated group of people, compared with a similarly sized group of unvaccinated people, it said.

The figure is based on a Phase 3 clinical trial in the United States which involved over 30,000 people aged 18 to 95.

The Moderna vaccine is the second Covid-19 vaccine to be authorised for use by the HSA, after the one by Pfizer-BioNTech.

It will be progressively rolled out for individuals aged 18 years and older, said the Health Ministry (MOH) in a separate statement.

The Expert Committee on Covid-19 vaccination also said it has independently reviewed the vaccine safety and efficacy data for different population segments in Singapore, and has been briefed by the HSA on its full range of considerations in granting interim authorisation for use.

It added that it is satisfied with the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

As a condition for the interim authorisation under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR), Moderna is required to monitor the longer-term efficacy of the vaccine to determine the duration of protection against Covid-19.

Moderna  is also required to continue following up on the safety of the vaccine for a longer period of time to determine its full safety profile. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was granted interim authorisation last year for use in Singapore.

The Moderna vaccine requires two doses administered 28 days apart, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s two doses are taken 21 days apart.

Reported side effects from  both vaccines  are similar and include pain, swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, fever, chills, vomiting and joint pain after vaccination.

As at Tuesday, more than 175,000 individuals have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the MOH said.

"About 6,000 of them have also received their second dose of the vaccine, and completed the full vaccination regimen," it added. "In two weeks' time, they will be adequately protected against Covid-19."