Those aged 18-49 to be offered bivalent booster later in 2022: Ong Ye Kung

The bivalent version of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine was rolled out here on Oct 14. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The bivalent Covid-19 vaccination boosters will be offered later in 2022 to those aged between 18 and 49.

They are currently available to those aged 50 and above.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said this will come as Singapore secures more supplies.

Those above 50 were initially prioritised for the bivalent vaccine due to their higher risk of severe disease from infection, he added.

The bivalent version of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine, which targets the original Sars-CoV-2 strain of the virus and the Omicron variants, was rolled out here on Oct 14.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent Comirnaty vaccine is expected to be available by the end of 2022.

The Health Minister was responding to a question by Associate Professor Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC), who had asked about the timeline for the roll-out of the bivalent vaccine for those under 50.

“Bivalent vaccines provide better protection against newer Covid-19 variants compared to the original vaccines,” Mr Ong said, adding that those who are eligible are recommended to take the newer vaccine.

They include those who have recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection, Mr Ong said, adding that it is recommended for them to get the bivalent vaccine three months after the infection.

Those who have been infected by Covid-19 multiple times should also take their booster shots once eligible, he said, responding to a question by Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang).

This is because having both infections and vaccinations has resulted in hybrid immunity for many who, as a result, have few symptoms after getting Covid-19.

Hence, it is best not to count infections, but to instead “diligently” take the booster shots, said Mr Ong.

Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) asked whether vaccination centres at community clubs and community centres in areas with higher numbers of older residents would be reopened, so as to facilitate vaccinations.

In response, Mr Ong noted there are currently 10 joint testing and vaccination centres, as well as one vaccination centre for adults who wish to get a vaccine shot.

This is in addition to 221 participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics and 20 polyclinics, he said, noting that these together provide sufficient convenience and access to vaccinations.

Vaccination centres, as well as facilities offering both testing and jabs, are chosen based on factors such as their proximity to high-population density areas, accessibility and the availability of the venue to support vaccination operations over a sustained period of time, Mr Ong said.

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