The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced on 23 October 2021 that the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine would be included in the National Vaccination Programme (NVP). From 30 October 2021, individuals can make appointments to receive vaccination at the Raffles City Convention Centre for their vaccinations. Seniors aged 60 years and above can walk in. This will greatly expand capacity on top of the private clinics and public healthcare institutions that administer the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine on behalf of the Ministry of Health (MOH).
2. Our study has shown that boosters confer significant additional protection against COVID-19 infection and severe illness. When compared with persons eligible for the booster but who have not yet received it, the booster further reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection by around 70%, and the risk of severe infections by around 90%. Such protection is on top of the protection that the initial two doses of mRNA vaccines under the NVP already provide against COVID-19.
3. As we have assessed that there is sufficient capacity at the Moderna Vaccination Centres to accommodate walk-ins, there is an opportunity for us to accelerate our booster programme and make it more convenient for individuals to get their booster dose more quickly. From 1 November 2021, we will allow all individuals aged 30 years old and above to walk in to any of the Moderna Vaccination Centres for their booster dose. We encourage all who are eligible but have not taken their booster dose to come forward for it. This is the best protection for you and your loved ones as we journey towards living with COVID-19.
Booking Appointments for Sinovac-CoronaVac Vaccinations
4. The MTF announced on 23 October 2021 that the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine would be included in the NVP for those aged 18 years and above and who are unable to be vaccinated with mRNA vaccines. This followed the Health Sciences Authority’s (HSA) interim authorisation of the vaccine under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR). The vaccination will be free of charge and covered by the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme for COVID-19 Vaccination (VIFAP).
5. Eligible individuals may take the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine from 30 October 2021. Persons who want to take the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine may make their appointments in the following ways:
a) Persons who have yet to take a dose of any COVID-19 vaccine and wish to take the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine may register their interest at www.vaccine.gov.sg from 30 October 2021. Once registered, an SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to the mobile number used to register interest, and individuals may use the link to make an appointment at the vaccination centre at Raffles City Convention Centre (RCCC) or at any of the 11 Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) offering Sinovac-CoronaVac (see Annex A).
b) Persons who have taken at least one dose of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine at a Special Access Route (SAR) authorised private clinic previously can continue to take the remaining dose(s) of their three-dose regime at any of the PSAR-authorised private clinics (see Annex B). They may proceed to book their remaining appointments at these clinics from 1 November 2021, if they have not already done so.
c) Persons who were medically ineligible for a two-dose mRNA vaccine regime and previously invited to receive the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine under a special public health programme, should follow the instructions provided in their SMS invitation to continue with their regime. The list of PSAR-authorised private clinics will be updated on www.vaccine.gov.sg/locations.
d) Seniors aged 60 years and above who belong to any of the above groups may also walk into the vaccination centre at RCCC to receive their Sinovac-CoronaVac doses, from 31 October 2021, without the need to register for interest or make an appointment.
Preliminary Local Findings on Effectiveness of Vaccination Booster
6. The Vaccination Booster Programme started on 14 September 2021. Since then, we have seen a healthy take up of booster doses among those eligible to receive them. As of 27 October, amongst those invited to take boosters, 80.2% of those aged 60 years and above, 92.7% of those aged 50 to 59 years, and 75.1% of those aged 30 to 49 years have received their booster dose or booked an appointment.
7. MOH has studied the COVID-19 positive infection rates of individuals who have received their booster doses vis-à-vis fully vaccinated individuals who have not yet received their booster doses. 685,083 fully vaccinated seniors above the age of 60 years who were eligible for the booster doses were included in this study. These individuals had received their second vaccination dose more than 180 days before 15 September 2021. They were tracked for their booster doses, whether there are confirmed COVID-19 infections, and if yes, severity of COVID-19 cases. The tracking was done between 15 September to 22 October 2021.
8. After adjusting for age, gender and other differences, we found that booster doses confer around a further 70% risk reduction against COVID-19 infections, and 90% risk reduction against severe infections, as compared to those who have received only two doses to date at around the same period as those who had received their boosters. Hence there is significant protection accorded by boosters on top of the protection that two doses of mRNA vaccines already provide against COVID-19 – i.e., on top of the vaccine effectiveness of 40% to 60% against infection, when comparing vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals, and more than 90% against severe illness.
9. Therefore comparing individuals who are fully vaccinated and boosted, versus unvaccinated individuals, estimates combining data from different sources are that the former benefits from vaccine effectiveness of about 80% or more against COVID-19 infection, and about 99% against severe illness.
Walk-In for Moderna Booster Dose for all, from 1 November
10. The preliminary findings support facilitating access to our booster vaccination programme to enhance protection against COVID-19 infection and ensure continued excellent protection against severe illness. This is the best way to keep Singaporeans safe. We thank everyone who has come forward for their booster dose, and urge those who are eligible, but have not yet taken their booster dose, to do so.
11. Persons who are recommended to receive a booster vaccination can choose either the Pfizer-BioNTech/COMIRNATY vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, and they need not receive the same vaccine they had received for their previous two doses. As we had started our NVP with only the Pfizer-BioNTech/ COMIRNATY available to us, there are many more among us who had taken two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech/ COMIRNATY as their primary series vaccination regime. These persons who had taken the Pfizer-BioNTech/ COMIRNATY vaccine can take the Moderna vaccine for their booster dose.
12. Currently, seniors aged 60 years and above may already walk into any vaccination site without appointment to receive their booster dose. From 1 November 2021, all Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and Long-Term Pass Holders aged 30 years and above who have completed their second dose six months ago (i.e., on 1 May 2021 or earlier) may walk into any of the nine vaccination centres offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, without a prior appointment. This applies both to persons who may have completed their primary series vaccination regimen with the Pfizer-BioNTech/ COMIRNATY or Moderna mRNA vaccine. The vaccination centres offering the Moderna vaccine are:
• Buona Vista Community Club
• Hong Kah North Community Club
• Kebun Baru Community Club
• Potong Pasir Community Club
• Punggol 21 Community Club
• Radin Mas Community Club
• Tampines East Community Club
• Woodlands Community Club
• Yew Tee Community Club
13. Booster vaccination of all dormitory dwelling Migrant Workers and non-dormitory dwelling work-permit holders MWs in the Construction, Marine, Processing (CMP) sector will be scheduled by the Ministry of Manpower.
14. Vaccination remains a key enabler in our fight against COVID-19. We urge all who are eligible to come forward to receive your vaccinations, including your booster.
Collective Effort to Keep Safe as We Move Towards a COVID-19 Resilient Singapore
15. Learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean living life as if COVID-19 did not exist. Rather, each of us have to take the necessary actions within our control to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. This includes going for our vaccination and booster doses, complying with safe management measures and practising social responsibility to self-test regularly, for example before visiting our family members who are seniors, or those who cannot be vaccinated, or before going into our workplaces. Individuals who are unable to take any dose of PSAR-authorised mRNA vaccines or to complete the PSAR-authorised mRNA vaccination regime due to medical reasons are encouraged to get vaccinated with Sinovac-CoronaVac.
16. With the collective efforts of everyone, we can reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission, avoid overwhelming our healthcare system, and keep Singapore safe as we navigate our path together towards COVID-19 resilience.