With the international roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination, accrued data has shown that vaccination is safe and can provide protection against infection and severe disease among immunocompromised persons, who are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19. As such, the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination now recommends that persons who are severely immunocompromised can be vaccinated.
2. To help ensure that they are vaccinated when their immune systems are better able to respond to the vaccination, the following groups of patients should obtain a memo on their suitability from their treating specialist and present it to the vaccination provider before being vaccinated:
a. Patients with active cancer on treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiotherapy), defined as treatment in the last three months or planned in the next two months;
b. Patients with recent transplants within the past three months (solid organ or stem cell); and
c. Patients on aggressive immunotherapy for non-cancer conditions.
3. People living with HIV can also now be vaccinated regardless of their CD4 count, without a need for a memo.
4. The above groups can be vaccinated in the hospital setting or in a community vaccination site.
5. The effectiveness of vaccines in persons who are immunocompromised may be reduced. As such, it is important for them to take precautions against infection, including avoiding crowded places and practicing good hand hygiene. Household members and persons around immunocompromised persons are urged to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of being infected and transmitting COVID-19 to them.
6. Separately, recovered persons who have not completed COVID-19 vaccination can do so, and are recommended to receive a single dose of vaccine under the national vaccination programme at least three months after the date of infection. This is a reduction from the previous six-month restriction.
7. COVID-19 vaccination is important to protect oneself and those around us from COVID-19 infection and severe disease. With the change in recommendations, more vulnerable persons can be vaccinated. The Expert Committee encourages all eligible persons to be vaccinated, especially with the current surge in local COVID-19 cases.
EXPERT COMMITTEE ON COVID-19 VACCINATION
28 JULY 2021