Singapore urges second booster shot for seniors aged 80 and up, other at-risk groups

SENIORS and other at-risk individuals should get a second booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine around 5 months after their first booster, Singapore's expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination has proposed.

The recommendation, based on data showing that vaccine protection wanes over time, "will help ensure that these at-risk groups remain highly protected as we resume normal activities", said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Thursday (Mar 24).

Even if they opt not to receive this second booster, their eligibility for vaccination-differentiated safe management measures will not be affected.

But director of medical services Kenneth Mak urged those who are eligible for the second booster dose to take it, as "we do continue to see a disproportionate greater number of people" who have not been fully vaccinated dying.

Meanwhile, younger people who are healthy have not been recommended for a second booster dose, with the MOH noting that they respond better to vaccination and are at lower risk of severe disease from Covid-19.

Second booster doses will be available for everyone aged 80 years and older, residents in aged care facilities like nursing homes, and medically vulnerable patients, such as those with chronic heart or lung conditions.

People with weakened immune systems - such as certain cancer patients and organ transplant recipients - are already encouraged to receive 3 doses in their primary series of vaccination, with a fourth dose as their booster dose.

As such, no second booster is recommended for such immunocompromised patients at this time, Assoc Prof Mak noted at a press briefing.

More details on how at-risk individuals can obtain a second booster dose will be announced later, the MOH said.

Singapore has so far vaccinated more than 92 per cent of the population with primary-series doses, while 71 per cent of the country has been boosted.

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