Singapore COVID-19 vaccine update: Overseas vaccinations recognition and kids vaccinations
Singapore began recognizing COVID-19 vaccines that come under World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency use list on August 10th, 2021. AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Johnson & Johnson are some of the WHO-approved vaccines. Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) recently announced this update as the country prepared for its initial step in reopening the economy, which includes dine-in at restaurants for groups of up to five people.
Additionally, Singapore is rehashing its recognition of COVID-19 vaccines received overseas and plans for kids under the age of 12 to be vaccinated from early next year. This Pacific Prime Singapore article covers all this and more.
Singapore vaccination: The latest news you need to know
Singapore is restructuring its acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines from abroad for:
- Short-term visitors
- Foreign students and workers
- Returning Singapore residents
In the meantime, the national expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination will offer recommendations on the third booster dose for individuals with severely weaker immune responses, according to the MOH’s recent update.
Around 77% of the Singaporean population had received a full vaccination regimen as of the middle of last week. Similarly, 82% have received a minimum of one of the two vaccine doses.
Travelers and vaccinations
From Friday 20th, 2021, travelers who can present a vaccination certificate upon arrival (in English) will get a tamper-proof sticker on their passports – though their vaccines must be approved for emergency use by the WHO.
Additionally, SafeEntry and TraceTogether digital check-in systems will be able to recognize vaccination statuses by next month. This will allow travelers to bypass the pre-event testing requirement for services like dine-ins and mass events such as religious services.
A multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 co-chair mentioned at a recent press conference that overseas vaccinations would be recognized for access to local facilities, venues, and events. Similarly, travelers with verified vaccination statuses upon entry would be eligible for safe management measures.
This kind of move means a relaxing of the current regime, which only permits Singapore residents and long-term passholders who are registered in the national immunization registry. If residents and long-term passholders received their vaccines abroad before, they would have had to take antibody tests to prove the effectiveness of their vaccinations.
Children are still at risk
Even so, another taskforce co-chair mentioned during the conference that Singapore would not reach herd immunity despite “very high vaccination rates”. Unvaccinated children and seniors are still at risk even if the country reaches a vaccination rate of 82%, which will happen in a matter of weeks.
The Minister for Health, co-chair Ong Ye Kung, added that the vaccination of children under the age of 12 would likely begin in early 2022. The exact date has yet to be provided as the proper study of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy for children is still underway.
Vaccination centers will continue to operate to provide vaccinations for this group (along with other unvaccinated people) and to administer booster shots as well. It was mentioned that the start of a booster exercise is probable for severely immunocompromised patients, which is similar to what countries like Germany, Britain, France, and the US are planning. Individuals that fall under this category include:
- Cancer patients
- Organ transplant recipients
- Patients on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease
The expert committee has taken into account the incidence of adverse reactions to third doses. They have also been considering what brand the booster shot should be – specifically whether it should be the same as the first two shots. At present, the expert committee is establishing its recommendations on the country’s booster strategy.
The MOH stated that since a significant portion of the population is now vaccinated, they are planning for the future to ensure that the population stays well protected from COVID-19, along with any new variants as they occur.
Singapore vaccination rollout
Singapore’s COVID-19 vaccination program aims to protect Singaporeans against the novel coronavirus, along with protecting businesses and jobs as the country gradually reopens. Vaccination is free to all Singaporean Permanent Residents and other long-term residents in the country including:
- Employment Pass holders
- S-Pass holders
- Work Permit holders
- Foreign Domestic Workers
- Dependant’s Pass holders
- Long-Term Visit Pass holders
- Student Pass holders
The following Short-Term Pass holders may walk into vaccination centers for their first dose without booking an appointment:
- Training Employee Pass
- Training Work Permit
- Work Holiday Pass
- Special Pass
From August 19th, 2021, eligible Short-Term Visit Pass (STVP) holders with a valid government-registered telephone number will receive an SMS from the MOH with a link to book their vaccination appointments. If you are an STVP holder with a valid pass extension and have yet to receive an SMS, you can fill in a form to request an appointment.
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