Singapore’s Health Minister Janil Puthucheary said that currently his country is considering the possibility of using a non-mRNA vaccine as a booster injection.
The Singapore Ministry of Health’s Committee of Experts (MOH) stated that they are “actively studying heterologous strategies involving non-mRNA vaccines”.
The agency also said that the ministry would continue to observe global and local data; especially regarding the risk of vaccine side effects; before recommending booster injections for Singaporeans.
MOH is studying the possibility that a different brand of vaccine would be more effective as a booster shot. Several studies have shown it can be done.
Several types of non-mRNA vaccines recommended by WHO are Oxford-AstraZeneca; Johnson & Johnson; and Sinopharm.
Not only studying non-mRNA vaccines; Singapore also made various agreements and plans to provide booster vaccines for its citizens.
“We have a strategy that is deliberately aimed at acquiring a portfolio of vaccines that use different technologies; to increase our chances of securing a vaccine that will continue to be safe and effective against COVID-19;” Puthucheary said.
“We are negotiating with suppliers to give us injections of non-mRNA boosters; and some are preparing their applications for PSARs (pandemic-specific access points).”
PSAR is required in the Singapore Health Sciences Authority’s licensing process to grant temporary authorization for vaccines to be used in Singapore.
The Sinovac vaccine is one of them; given this authorization in June after obtaining emergency use permits by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The MOH is currently recommending that seniors 60 years of age and older receive a booster vaccine six to nine months after the second vaccine injection. Meanwhile; immunocompromised individuals should receive a booster vaccine two months after they receive their second dose.
Singapore has also signed an advance purchase agreement with American biotechnology company Novavax to secure its protein-based vaccine. The plan; this vaccine will arrive before the end of the year.
As of September 9; 2021; 81 percent of Singaporeans have received the full dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; while 85 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.