Second COVID-19 reminder not recommended for people aged 60-79, but injections will be offered on request: MOH


Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said more booster shots will be needed as COVID-19 becomes endemic – the only question being when. That’s the consensus among scientists around the world, and the MOH and EC19V agree, he said.

“Administer too soon and chances are it will be wasted, administer too late and the damage would have already been done,” he said.

To determine an appropriate time to administer an additional booster, the Department of Health closely monitors two indicators, he said.

One was whether subsequent waves of Omicron or new variants were breaking out in other countries, which would be a sign that a new wave might be emerging in Singapore. The country would then have to deploy a second booster before that happens, Mr Ong said.

A second indicator is the level of vaccine protection against serious diseases for those who have already received their first booster – which many scientists believe can last one to two years or even longer.

“We will be alert to early signs of decline in vaccine effectiveness against serious diseases, which will indicate the need for a second booster,” Ong said.

As for the vaccines to be used for a second booster, this will depend on the nature of the new variant of concern.

If it is a derivative of the Omicron variant with similar characteristics, it is likely that current vaccines will continue to confer good protection, he said.

However, if the new variant is more dangerous, it may require a different strategy, Dr Ong said. A deadlier variant can also mean the return of safe management measures like contact tracing and testing.

A “worst-case scenario” would be a deadlier and more transmissible variant than Omicron, he warned.

“We may then have to lie down for six months or more, while scientists develop a new variant-specific vaccine. And that’s one of the worst-case scenarios that we have to be psychologically prepared for.”

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