SINGAPORE — The new Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine that targets the original novel coronavirus strain and the Omicron variant is expected to arrive in Singapore at the end of September, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (15 September).
His comments come a day after the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) gave interim approval for the use of the Moderna Spikevax bivalent vaccine.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, Ong echoed HSA’s statement on the effectiveness of the Moderna bivalent vaccine. “Yes, it is effective. Data from the clinical trial showed that it elicits a strong protection effect against both (original and later) variants, and in particular against Omicron.”
The vaccine comprises two components that target the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and the Omicron BA.1 variant, HSA said.
“The preliminary data from an exploratory analysis also suggested that the vaccine may stimulate antibodies against Omicron BA.4/5, as well as other variants such as Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma,” HSA added.
Ong said that HSA is also evaluating the Pfizer bivalent vaccine. The authorities are finalising the arrangements for the Moderna bivalent vaccine and will update the public later, he added.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, Moderna said it is working with HSA and the government to make the vaccine available in Singapore later this month.
The technology of vaccines that work against different strains of viruses is not new, Ong said. Influenza vaccines, for instance, are quadrivalent vaccines that target four types of influenza virus strains, he added.
Moderna's previous vaccine, which targets the original COVID-19 strain, is one of two vaccines based on the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology that have been approved for use under Singapore’s national vaccination programme – the other is produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.
As of Wednesday, 93 per cent of Singapore’s population have received their shots from the primary vaccination series while 80 per cent have received their booster shots.
As of Thursday, there have been a total of 1.87 million COVID-19 cases and 1,605 deaths from the disease.
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