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Singapore to roll out Covid vaccine booster shots to some groups, including seniors


A woman walks along a bridge, as the Marina Bay Sands hotel and resort is seen in the background, in Singapore on August 16, 2021.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore is introducing booster Covid vaccine shots for people aged 60 and over, residents of nursing homes and those with suppressed immune systems.

In a release Friday, the health ministry said older people will be eligible for a third dose six to nine months after their second dose, while those who are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised are recommended to receive boosters two months after their second dose.

These groups were selected because they are at higher risk of severe illness as a result of catching Covid-19, and may have a weaker immune response from the first two doses of the vaccine.

Seniors will be invited to register for their third doses via a text message, while health care providers will offer booster shots to those who are immunocompromised. The booster program is expected to begin this month.

Countries such as Israel and the United States have already started administering third doses of the vaccine.

Singapore has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world, with 81% of its population having received two doses of the vaccine. More than 84% of the population have received their first dose, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said during a press briefing Friday.

Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in the city-state, however, with clusters emerging around public bus interchanges, dormitories for migrant workers and a shopping mall since restrictions were eased in August.

Local authorities are also seeking to ramp up Covid testing, including self-testing.

“We strongly encourage everyone, including fully-vaccinated individuals, to self-test regularly with Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits as a matter of social responsibility, especially if you are participating in higher-risk activities or attending large-scale events,” they said in the press release.

Employers can also introduce regular Covid testing to prevent workplace clusters.

As of Thursday, 67,991 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Singapore since the beginning of the pandemic, and 55 people have died from the disease and its complications.

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