betty August 24, 2022

SINGAPORE – Steps are being taken to bring Moderna’s new Bivalent vaccine into Singapore once it is available, said Singapore’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Wednesday (August 24).

This vaccine would cover both the wildtype Covid-19 virus, as well as the Omicron variant, which includes the BA.4 and BA.5 strains, said Associate Professor Mak.

The Moderna booster shot, which can be given to those aged 18 and above, targets circulating variants more closely. The original mRNA vaccines largely target the wildtype virus, though they are still effective against Covid-19 variants, including Omicron.

Prof Mak stressed that the current vaccine is still effective in conferring protection, and that it is “prudent” for people to think about getting their vaccines as early as possible in light of a possible Covid-19 wave at the end of the year.

“We’ve seen with our BA4.5 wave, it came a little bit earlier than what we originally were anticipating and therefore one could be caught off guard,” he said.

It would therefore be best to get vaccinated, if eligible, as soon as possible, he stressed.

He noted that the delivery date for Moderna’s new vaccine is still not confirmed, though MOH anticipates that it could be ready in the later part of the year – around the last quarter.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung also said on Wednesday that a second booster dose is now recommended for people aged 60 and above.

He noted that almost 80 per cent of the population has received booster shots, a key reason why Singapore could ride through the current BA.5 wave without tightening safe management measures – and without having many severe cases, or hospitals being overwhelmed.

As the situation in hospitals and residential care homes has improved, measures for in-person visits to hospitals and residential care homes will be eased from Sept 1.

In hospitals, two visitors per patient will be allowed at the bedside at each time, up from one, and visitors will have to abide by the hospital’s visiting hours.