Individuals who have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, but are unable to receive the second dose due to allergic reactions, will be invited to take the Sinovac vaccine instead.
According to Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary, any individual who receives one dose of the mRNA vaccine, experiences allergic reactions, and then completes the vaccination process with Sinovac will be considered as fully vaccinated.
This was in response to a question posed by Workers’ Party (WP) MP Gerald Giam, who asked how individuals who are allergic to their first dose of the mRNA vaccine will be able to attain fully vaccinated status in Singapore.
Novavax likely to arrive by end of 2021
In Parliament, Puthucheary also said that the Novavax vaccine, which is another non-mRNA option, is expected to be delivered by the end of 2021.
He said that individuals who are allergic to mRNA vaccines can choose to wait for the Novavax vaccine, and that the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) are working closely with Novavax to facilitate the regulatory submission for their vaccine.
The review timeline will depend on the availability and submission of data by Novavax to HSA.
However, in response to a follow-up question by Giam, who asked whether individuals who take one dose of mRNA vaccine, followed by a dose of the Novavax vaccine will be considered fully-vaccinated, Puthucheary said although this is likely to be the case, it is important to study the relevant data first.
“I see no reason why it shouldn’t be considered in the same way as the other processes that I’ve just described, but I think it’s premature at this point to guarantee that it’ll be so, so we’ll get the data, we’ll put it through the process, and we’ll announce the details later on,” he said.
Increasing efforts to vaccinate seniors
Puthucheary also gave update on the vaccination of seniors, in response to questions posed by other MPs.
As of July 31, 79 per cent of seniors above the age of 70 have already been vaccinated with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
He said that more seniors are coming forward to be vaccinated, and about 1,000 seniors sign up for their first dose on a daily basis.
However, more than 96,000 seniors above the age of 70, or about 21 per cent, have not booked a vaccination appointment in Singapore, which is six percentage points higher than the general population.
Seniors currently do not have to make vaccination appointments, and can simply receive the vaccine by entering any public vaccination centre.
According to Puthucheary , the government has intensified outreach efforts, and MOH has also called on all primary care providers to persuade seniors who are their regular patients to get vaccinated.
Mobile vaccination teams have also started to provide bed-bound and less mobile seniors with vaccinations in their homes, starting with a few towns with a higher proportion of seniors.
Short-term pass holders not included in national vaccination drive
In response to WP’s He Ting Ru, who asked whether short-term visit pass (STVP) holders are eligible for any vaccination schemes in Singapore, Puthucheary said that the national vaccination programme currently covers those who “make Singapore their home”, or who are here for an extended period of time.
As such, short-term pass holders are not currently vaccinated.
Puthucheary said that the government is currently reviewing how such pass holders, who may be in Singapore on an extended basis due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, may receive vaccinations, and said that details will be announced later on.
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