SINGAPORE - Yearly Covid-19 shots could become the norm to protect the population from the risk of being reinfected with a Covid-19 variant, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament on Monday (Aug 1).
"I have deliberately used the term up-to-date vaccinations, rather than a second, third or fourth booster shot. This is because at some point, just like flu vaccinations, we have to stop counting the number of jabs we have taken."
"Instead, we must ensure that we get a jab at a suitable interval - maybe nine months or a year. This is something MOH (Ministry of Health) will try to determine in the coming months."
Mr Ong said the current wave is subsiding and the worst is over, but it is important not to be complacent.
"As the protection of vaccines and prior infection wanes, the virus will circulate in our society again and cases will rise. We must anticipate when that will happen and take the necessary precautions, the most important of which is to keep our vaccinations up to date," he said.
Mr Ong said in Parliament at the start of the year that regular Covid-19 shots is a possible scenario in the future when the virus becomes an endemic disease.
In Parliament on Monday, he said: "As of now, there is no change to MOH's guidelines and recommendations."
Mr Ong said that the country needs to be alert to the threat of a new variant that is more infectious, lead to more severe illnesses, or evades the protection of current vaccines.
He added that the hope is that it will not happen, but many countries in the northern hemisphere are wary of what may emerge in the coming winter.
If Singapore encounters such a variant, social restrictions will become necessary again, he said.