New supply agreement inked with Pfizer for Covid-19 vaccines for kids

The Republic has signed a new supply agreement with Pfizer for its paediatric Covid-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11.
The Republic has signed a new supply agreement with Pfizer for its paediatric Covid-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore has signed a new supply agreement with Pfizer for its paediatric Covid-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Nov 15).

The agreement also includes the delivery of these vaccines, and the Ministry of Health (MOH) is in "constant contact" with Pfizer to fulfil these deliveries as soon as possible, said Mr Ong, who was speaking at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 here.

Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said last week that the paediatric doses for children are made of a different formulation. They use the same mRNA ingredient as the adult doses, but use a different buffer solution, so that they can be stored under more conventional cold chain requirements. This will also make it easier to draw the required amount of vaccine from the vial.

Mr Ong noted that there has been a lot of interest from parents on children's vaccines after announcements were made last week that the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination will make a recommendation on whether to extend the Pfizer vaccine to children aged five to 11 in the second half of November.

This came after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorised the use of the vaccine for this age group.

He added that a vaccination trial conducted among local children is making progress, reiterating that the purpose of it is to "smoothen operations" once the roll-out is done at scale.

The KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) is overseeing it and planning to start recruitment of the first batch of participants, said Mr Ong. More details on the study and registration information will be available from KKH's website and Facebook page by the end of this week.

Last Monday, Mr Ong had said that the local study on children aged five to 11 will also look at the suitability of a smaller dosage of the vaccine for children here.

Giving an update on the children with multi-system inflammatory syndrome linked to Covid-19 infection, Associate Professor Mak said a sixth case of the multi-system inflammatory syndrome has been detected.

All six children were aged two months to 11 years old. Three of them have recovered and been discharged home, Prof Mak said.

Of the remaining three children, one had initially been admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit but has responded well to treatment and has since been transferred to the general ward. 

He may be discharged soon if he continues his recovery uneventfully, Prof Mak said. 

"Even though children have a mild infection and make a full recovery, it will be complacent for us to assume that this will be the situation for all children infected with Covid-19," he said.

Until young children can get vaccinated, "it is important for us to manage their risk of getting Covid-19 through avoiding crowded places for them and minimising their mask-off iinteractions outside the home setting", he added.

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