HSA said its clinical review showed that the booster vaccine “elicited a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant, while preserving the immune response against the original SARS-CoV-2 strain”.
It added that preliminary data from an exploratory analysis suggested that the vaccine may stimulate antibodies from other variants, including the Omircon BA.4/5, Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma.
WHO CAN TAKE THIS BOOSTER VACCINE?
People who are aged 18 years old and above and who have received their primary COVID-19 vaccine doses are eligible to receive the bivalent shot.
Official recommendations will be issued by the expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination and the Ministry of Health “in due time”, said HSA.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
Clinical studies have shown that the bivalent vaccine was “generally well-tolerated” and has a safety profile consistent with Moderna’s original Spikevax vaccine.
Side effects were mostly mild to moderate, HSA said. This includes pain and/or tenderness at the injection site, fatigue, headache and muscle pain.
The authority noted that these are “generally associated with vaccinations and expected as part of the body’s natural response to build immunity against COVID-19”, which usually resolve on their own within a few days.
IS ANYONE ELSE DEVELOPING A BIVALENT COVID-19 VACCINE?
Yes. Pfizer-BioNTech has a bivalent vaccine that works similarly to Moderna’s and targets the same two strains of COVID-19 virus. It has been approved in some countries as a single-dose booster for individuals aged 12 years old and above.
Singapore has yet to authorise this vaccine for use in the country. However, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday that MOH is bringing both types of vaccine into Singapore under agreements with the pharmaceutical companies.
“Our intention is to update our vaccines for the National Vaccination Programme as the formulations improve,” said Mr Ong said.