Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that adolescents aged 12 to 17 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 Novavax vaccine starting from May 15.
This decision follows the acceptance of recommendations from the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination and the authorisation granted by the Health Sciences Authority for the use of the Novavax vaccine in this age group.
Expanded Vaccination Options for Adolescents
The inclusion of the COVID-19 Novavax vaccine in the National Vaccination Programme provides a valuable alternative for adolescents aged 12 to 17.
This option is particularly beneficial for those who are medically ineligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine or prefer a non-mRNA vaccine. It allows them to complete their recommended COVID-19 vaccinations with a non-mRNA jab.
Booking Appointments and Vaccination Process
From May 15, adolescents aged 12 to 17 can book appointments at any of the 19 Public Health Preparedness Clinics offering this vaccine. To locate the nearest vaccination site and operating hours, individuals can visit gowhere.gov.sg/vaccine.
Optimal Protection with Three Doses
MOH advises adolescents aged 12 to 17 who opt for the COVID-19 Novavax vaccine to complete a three-dose regimen for maximum protection. The recommended interval between the first and second doses is eight weeks. The interval between the second and third doses is five months.
Notably, the Novavax vaccine can also serve as a booster jab, even for individuals who have previously received mRNA vaccines.
Importance of Vaccination and Achieving Protection
To achieve the minimum protection against COVID-19, individuals are encouraged to complete three doses of either mRNA or Novavax vaccine. Alternatively, four doses of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine can also provide the required level of protection, as per MOH guidelines.
Efficacy and Safety of the Novavax Vaccine
The expert committee reports that the Novavax vaccine generates comparable antibody levels in adolescents aged 12 to 17 as it does in adults. Furthermore, during the circulation of the Delta variant, the vaccine demonstrates a vaccine efficacy of 79.5%.
Most side effects reported are mild to moderate in severity and resolve within a few days. While no local cases of myocarditis have been observed, there have been reports of myocarditis associated with the Novavax vaccine in other countries.
International Approval and Recommendations
Several other countries, including the United States, Australia, Taiwan, and South Korea, have approved the use of the Novavax vaccine. This global acceptance highlights the efficacy and safety of the vaccine in this particular age group.
Prioritising Vaccination for a Safer Future
The Ministry of Health emphasises the importance of vaccination as the primary defence against COVID-19. It strongly encourages all eligible individuals, especially adolescents, to complete the recommended vaccine doses. This includes any necessary boosters, to minimise the risk of severe illness. With the availability of this vaccine, adolescents in Singapore now have increased vaccination options for their protection.