Those eligible can start booking appointments for first recommended non-mRNA vaccine Nuvaxovid

The new vaccine by Novavax will start to be administered from May 18, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Bookings for Nuvaxovid, the first non-mRNA vaccine recommended as a booster dose by the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination, will open to residents aged 18 and above starting Friday (May 13).

The new vaccine by Novavax will start to be administered from May 18.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Friday that mRNA vaccines remain the preferred vaccines due to their higher efficacy and the stronger immune response generated.

Noting that mRNA vaccines have been inappropriate for some, MOH said: "Those who are medically ineligible to receive the mRNA vaccines should consider the Nuvaxovid."

Booking slots for the new vaccine will be available at any of the 20 participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) starting May 18.

The vaccine will also be available at the Joint Testing and Vaccination Centre (JTVC) Bishan - at the former Bishan Park Secondary School - from May 24.

The list of JTVCs and participating PHPCs can be found at this website.

With the introduction of the Nuvaxovid vaccine, MOH also said the Sinovac-Coronavac vaccine will only be made available as a booster to people who are medically ineligible to receive the mRNA vaccines and Nuvaxovid.

Previously, residents only had to be ineligible for mRNA vaccines to become eligible for Sinovac-Coronavac vaccine.

The Sinovac-Coronavac vaccine is not recommended by the expert committee as it does not provide strong protection against Covid-19. 

A study conducted by health experts in Singapore that was published last month found that Sinovac recipients are more than twice as likely to be infected with Covid-19 than Pfizer vaccine recipients and almost six times more likely than those who got the Moderna vaccine.

Individuals who are medically ineligible for mRNA and Sinovac-CoronaVac will need to get Nuvaxovid or be reassessed as medically ineligible to all vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme by their doctors to maintain their vaccination status.

The validity of medical ineligibility memos issued before June 1 this year will expire on Aug 1 this year. Medical ineligibility memos issued on June 1 onwards will be valid and required for these individuals to maintain their vaccination status after Aug 1.

MOH said: "Boosters and vaccinations remain a critical part of our Covid-19 strategy in ensuring our population is well-protected against infection and severe illness."

As of Friday, 92 per cent of Singapore's population have completed their primary vaccination series and 75 per cent have received their booster doses.

MOH added: "We urge all who are eligible for vaccinations and booster doses to receive them as soon as possible."

Residents can register their interest for the Nuvaxovid vaccine at this website.

After registering, an SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to their phone number.

Clicking the link will direct individuals to the booking site and bookings can be made there.

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