Those taking Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can now get second dose in 3 weeks instead of 4

The move comes as Singapore steps up vaccination efforts.
The move comes as Singapore steps up vaccination efforts.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Individuals taking the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine can now get the second dose in three weeks instead of four, in line with the interval recommended by the vaccine manufacturers.

The move comes as Singapore steps up vaccination efforts to hit its goal of fully vaccinating two-thirds of the population by National Day on Aug 9.

The latest change does not affect people taking the Moderna Covid-19 jab, as the prescribed interval between doses for Moderna's vaccine is four weeks.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) told The Straits Times that the shortened interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine doses took effect on Friday (July 9).

"We have further shortened the minimum interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine... so that more of our population can be fully vaccinated and protected earlier," said MOH.

All eligible individuals who make their vaccination appointments from Friday will be able to schedule their first and second dose appointments three weeks apart for the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine.

People with appointments more than three weeks apart, including those who have already received their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine, can also bring forward their second dose appointment.

They can do so by using the same personalised booking link in the SMS that they had received earlier. Those who do not have their original booking link can call the hotline on 1800-333-9999 for assistance.

This is the second time in two weeks that MOH has shortened the interval between the two vaccine doses.

On June 29, those who were allowed to book their second Covid-19 jab only six to eight weeks after the first jab were able to shorten the interval 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.

People who brought forward their appointments then said they wanted to enjoy the benefits that could be afforded to vaccinated individuals, among other reasons.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had said on Wednesday that Singapore is currently vaccinating 76,000 individuals a day, but has the ability to vaccinate up to 80,000 people daily.

He added that Singapore is not constrained by supplies anymore in terms of vaccines, and urged people to bring forward their second jab.

He said about 131,000 people have moved their second Covid-19 vaccination appointments forward, with another 200,000 yet to do so.

"The earlier you can get your two doses, the better the protection against severe illnesses," he said.

Communications professional K. Wong, 32, who declined to give his full name, is one of those who have yet to bring forward their second dose from the six-week interval.

He has received two text messages this week from the Health Ministry encouraging him to bring forward his booking.

While he recognises the benefits of bringing forward the vaccination, he said he is unable to do so owing to work commitments.

He added: "I am afraid that if I encounter any side effects during this time, that I will lapse in my work schedule when so much is happening."