Singapore approves Pfizer Covid-19 jab for use in children as it opts to close schools amid coronavirus spike
Singaporean health authorities have approved Pfizer’s coronavirus jab for use among children aged 12 to 15. The move comes as the country closed schools over fears that new Covid-19 strains are more dangerous for children.
The approval was announced by Singapore’s health ministry on Tuesday.
“The data showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine demonstrated high efficacy consistent with that observed in the adult population,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the vaccine’s “safety profile is also consistent with the known safety profile in the adult population.”
The move follows the announced nationwide closure of schools. Starting from Wednesday, primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges will move to home-based classes. The measure will be in place for the remainder of the ongoing school term, which ends on May 28.
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However, younger children are still quite far from becoming subjects of the vaccine mass rollout. The country’s immunization program has been going on in five-year age bands, progressively moving from the older to younger citizens. Starting from Wednesday, people aged between 40 and 44 will be invited to register for vaccination.
“Our supply of vaccines has been steadily coming in, but remains limited, given high global demand,” the ministry noted.
So far, the city-state, which is home to over 5.7 million people, has administered around 3.4 million doses of coronavirus jabs. Some 1.4 million people have received two doses, while the rest have got a single one so far.
To circumvent the limited supply, the health authorities opted for extension of the interval between the two doses, bumping it twofold from the current three to four weeks. The change will allow authorities to cover more people with at least a single dose of Covid19 jabs.
“The difference is that we are trying to, instead of having a good number of people getting maximum protection, we make sure we get the maximum number of people get good protection,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told a news briefing . “If all goes smoothly, some time in August, about 4.7 million individuals will be covered by vaccination, at least one dose.”
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The city-state has recently seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, with at least one coronavirus cluster discovered at an educational center. The new coronavirus strains, namely ones originating form covid-ravaged India, are believed to “to affect children more,” Ong said on Monday. A similar opinion has been expressed by the country’s education minister, Chan Chun Sing, who said that “some of these mutations are much more virulent and they seem to attack the younger children.”
Despite the ongoing surge, Singapore’s coronavirus tally remains very low compared to the worst-affected nations. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city-state has registered some 61,600 cases, including just 31 deaths.
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Source:RT World News