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Booster Recommendation For Persons With Positive Antigen Rapid Tests

       Early this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that for individuals aged 18 years and above, their full vaccination status after two doses of mRNA vaccines and three doses of Sinovac/Sinopharm vaccines will lapse after 270 days.  This policy will be effective from 14 February 2022, to give individuals sufficient time to receive their boosters and extend the validity of their full vaccination status. 

2.      As the deadline of 14 February 2022 draws near, MOH would like to remind the public to get their booster doses on time, i.e. recommended from about 5 months after the last dose of your primary vaccination series. Upon receiving your booster dose, you will continue to be considered fully vaccinated beyond the initial 270 days. There is no expiry for the period of validity following the booster at this point. Meanwhile, MOH would also like to answer two common queries from members of the public. 

3.      First, whether individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 after their primary series should still receive their booster dose.

4.      The default is yes. With Omicron being a less severe disease, people are getting mild symptoms with lower viral loads. A booster dose will confer longer protection into the future.  As recommended by the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination, it is safe for persons who have recovered from COVID-19 to receive a booster dose. Our vaccination centres have been instructed to administer the booster dose to you and you will not be turned away. 

5.      However, if you (a) much prefer not to get the booster dose, and (b) have seen a doctor when you were infected or were detected to be COVID positive when travelling into Singapore, and a record of your infection is reflected in our medical records (and you can see it in your HealthHub records), you can choose not to take the booster dose.  The infection episode can be considered as your booster dose. The update of your status is automatic, and no action is required on your part.

6.      For clarity, the above does not apply to someone who performed an antigen rapid test (ART) self-test, or has undergone Rostered Routine Testing or Pre-Event Testing and was discovered to be COVID-19 positive. These individuals will typically undergo self-isolation under Protocol 2, recover and then resume normal activities. There is therefore no record of their infection in our medical records. If so, you will need to receive your booster dose, recommended from about 5 months after the last dose of your primary series, in order to extend the validity period of your full vaccination status beyond the initial 270 days.

7.      Second, there have also been many queries on the need for boosters after various permutations of mRNA vaccine doses, Sinovac/Sinopharm vaccine doses, and infections.  As the answers are complicated and depend on the order and timing between these occurrences, MOH is working on a calculator for our official website, to help individuals determine if they need to take boosters to extend their validity period. 

8.      But a simple rule of thumb is: two doses of an mRNA vaccine or three doses of Sinovac/Sinopharm confer full vaccination status for 270 days. A booster or an infection recorded in our medical records after that will extend the validity. 

9.      MOH would also like to advise individuals against taking serology tests to try to exempt themselves from a booster dose. A serology test is not a strong indication of resilience against severe illness caused by the COVID-19 virus. Further, positive serology can be generated due to vaccinations or infections, without clear indication of timing, and does not provide a good basis to decide if the individual can be exempted from boosters. When in doubt, please come forward to receive a booster dose and get yourself properly protected. 

29 JANUARY 2022

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