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Seniors aged 60 and above, aged-care facility residents to get invites for COVID-19 booster dose vaccine: MOH

Seniors aged 60 and above, aged-care facility residents to get invites for COVID-19 booster dose vaccine: MOH

Madam Ng Sam Mui, 74, getting her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre at Senja-Cashew Community Centre on Feb 22, 2021. (Photo: Hani Amin)

SINGAPORE: Seniors aged 60 and above and residents of aged-care facilities will be invited to receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from Sep 14, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a news release on Friday (Sep 10).

They will be invited to receive their booster dose of an mRNA vaccine authorised under the Health Science's Authority's Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) "progressively", MOH said. Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are authorised under this route.

The Health Ministry added that the seniors and the aged-care facility residents are required to have completed their vaccination regimen with two doses at least six months ago.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said at a COVID-19 multi-ministerial task force press conference on Friday that there are 900,000 seniors aged 60 and above who are eligible for booster shots.

"We will be sending out some 200,000 SMSes to those who took their second shots in March this year or earlier to make an appointment for their booster shots," he said.

An SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to the mobile number that they had registered with earlier for their first two doses, for them to book a new appointment, MOH said.

“Eligible residents of aged-care facilities can also look forward to receiving their booster dose in the coming weeks,” MOH said.

Individuals who are “moderately to severely immunocompromised” and are fully vaccinated are also “encouraged” to receive a third dose of any PSAR mRNA vaccine such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines two months after their second dose, MOH said.

“However, they should consult their treating specialist, who would have the best understanding of their medical condition, prior to receiving their third dose,” said the Health Ministry.

Eligible individuals may then receive the vaccination in a hospital or a specialist outpatient clinic of their treating specialist, if these are offering vaccinations, it said. They can do so from Sep 15, Mr Ong said during the press conference. 

MOH added that alternatively, they may obtain a referral form from their treating specialist and walk into any vaccination centre for their third dose. 

The national vaccination programme for seniors began in February this year. The first batch of seniors aged 60 and above completed their second doses in March.

COVID-19 booster shots ensure that those who have "blunted immune response" to vaccination have further protection, MOH said previously. 

Seniors, the Health Ministry said, should receive a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine about six to nine months after having completed their primary course of vaccination regimen.

Mr Ong urged those who are eligible for the third dose to go for them.

"MOH recommends that you take the shots, so please come forward when you receive the SMS," he said.

Singapore healthcare protocol changes Sep 10

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Source: CNA/ja(rw)