Asia

No booking required for Moderna booster shots; monitoring time to be halved to 15 minutes

SINGAPORE – Those eligible to receive their booster shots can walk in to a vaccination centre offering the Moderna booster, without having to book an appointment.

This is because there are now more Moderna booster vaccines available compared with the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty ones, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Dec 14).

In addition, the 30-minute monitoring and waiting time for those who receive their boosters will be halved to 15 minutes.

“Our data shows very low incidence rate of significant, acute adverse reactions after taking boosters, so this will expand our booster delivering capacity,” said Mr Ong at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

Booster jabs are important, given the added protection they provide against the more contagious Omicron variant, he added.

The new Omicron variant is fast eroding the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine’s protection against infection, a recent study in the United Kingdom has found.

The study revealed that one month after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, its effectiveness against infection from the Omicron variant was at 90 per cent.

The effectiveness then fell to about 50 per cent after three months, and then 35 per cent after four months and beyond, said Mr Ong, citing the study.

“So this erosion of protection is quite fast,” he added.

The study also showed that two weeks after receiving the booster jab, the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection from Omicron rose to 75 per cent, “which is encouraging – it means boosters work”, he said.

Mr Ong noted that the rise to 75 per cent refers to protection against symptomatic infection, and the booster’s protection against severe illnesses is likely to be much higher.

“That is why vaccination will continue to be central to our response. (We) must continue to get the unvaccinated, vaccinated.”

He said there are about 160,000 unvaccinated people in Singapore now, and about 40,000 of them are seniors aged 60 and above – who are at high risk of falling very sick, needing intensive care, or dying.

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