Over 586,000 people have taken a bivalent Covid-19 jab, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Over 586,000 people have taken a bivalent Covid-19 jab

More than 586,000 individuals have received a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine as at last Monday. 

This is 200,000 more from the previous update by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Dec 12. 

In response to queries from The Straits Times, MOH said more than 133,000 individuals have received a shot of the bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine and over 453,000 have received the bivalent Moderna/Spikevax vaccine.

Bivalent vaccines provide protection against the original Sars-CoV-2 strain of the virus, as well as the Omicron sub-variants.

MOH said on Saturday that there are still about 39,000 eligible seniors who have not yet achieved minimum protection. This is down from the 40,000 figure provided in mid-December.

Minimum protection against Covid-19 requires individuals aged five and above to complete three mRNA or Novavax/Nuvaxovid doses, or four Sinovac-CoronaVac doses. 

To be up to date with vaccination, eligible people should receive an additional booster dose between five months and a year from their last vaccine dose. 

As at Saturday, 60 per cent of Singapore’s eligible population has up-to-date vaccination, MOH said on its website.

MOH added that the bivalent vaccines have a similar safety profile as the original monovalent booster vaccines, based on international data such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on the 22.6 million bivalent booster doses administered in the United States. 

Moderna’s bivalent vaccine was rolled out on Oct 14 and the bivalent version of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine has been made available since Dec 12.

MOH said: “The bivalent vaccines will broaden protection against existing variants and potentially against future ones. This will ensure (people) have a high level of protection against severe Covid-19, which is important as we enter the festive period and interact with our friends and family.”

On Friday, MOH noted how China is facing a large infection wave that is of particular concern.

On a weekly basis, between 40 and 80 Covid-19 cases have been detected in travellers from China, mostly residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore.

This comes after China announced that from Jan 8, it will scrap quarantine measures for overseas arrivals after nearly three years of strict pandemic border restrictions. 

MOH said on Friday it is ready to reinstate border health measures if warranted by the public health situation. 

Infectious diseases experts noted that the coronavirus continues to spread globally, especially in China.

They encouraged people to take a booster if they are concerned, given how new sub-variants are bound to emerge, which will spread as effectively as those that drove previous Covid-19 waves. 

Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, vice-dean of global health at the National University of Singapore Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said: “Investigators from MOH and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases recently showed that in individuals above the age of 80, having a second booster dose reduced the risk of hospitalisation and severe illness compared with those who had received only one booster dose, at least in the short term.”

He added: “It may well be that updated Covid-19 vaccines should be administered annually or biannually to those at high risk of severe Covid-19 analogous to the flu vaccine, but the evidence to support such a strategy is still being gathered.”

Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of research at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said: “If you are young and healthy and recently had Covid-19, there is no urgency to get another shot, but if you are at greater risk, say because of age, you should consider getting another shot once you’re eligible.”

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