SINGAPORE - Younger people will be invited to receive Covid-19 vaccinations from the later half of May, but they will be rolled out in smaller age bands given the limited supply of the jabs, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday (May 11).
In a ministerial statement on Singapore's response to the pandemic, Mr Gan also revealed that about 1.8 million individuals had received at least one dose of the vaccine as at May 9. Of this number, about 1.2 million people have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regimen.
Mr Gan, who is co-chair of the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic here, also said that about two-thirds of eligible people aged 45 and older have received the Covid-19 vaccination, or booked their vaccination appointments.
But he added that this is not enough, and called for more people to encourage seniors to get jabbed.
"Take-up has been encouraging... However, we need to continue to encourage seniors to be vaccinated as, given their age, they are the most vulnerable. I urge all of us to encourage our elderly family members too," said Mr Gan.
He was responding to questions from MPs, including Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) and Ms Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio GRC), who had asked about Singapore's vaccination programme, which has been under way since last year.
Others, like Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) had asked if the programme can include children under 16.
Mr Gan noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are approved here for those aged 16, and 18 years old and older, respectively.
The minister said that the initial information provided by the two firms did not include data regarding their use in younger populations.
But Pfizer has since submitted supplemental data for the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to assess if its vaccine meets safety and efficacy requirements for authorisation for use in adolescents aged 12 to 15 years.
Mr Gan said the HSA has been examining the data and will do so for the Moderna vaccine as well when data is submitted to them.
"We will share more details when ready. As for children below 12 years old, clinical trials are still under way and may take more time before enough data is generated," he said.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are the only two Covid-19 vaccines approved for use here.