No plans to include Covid-19 jabs in national childhood immunisation schedule for now: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE – About 5.7 per 100,000 young people under the age of 18 who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 came down with a rare and severe inflammatory syndrome after getting infected with the coronavirus.

This is compared with an incidence of 38 per 100,000 among young people under 18 who got Covid-19 and were not fully vaccinated, as of Aug 29.

The multi-system inflammatory syndrome is a condition where a child’s immune system overreacts after a Covid-19 infection, typically two to eight weeks later.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung shared these figures on Tuesday, in response to Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang).

Asked whether Covid-19 vaccination will be included in the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule, Mr Ong told the House there are no plans to do so at this point.

He noted that the pandemic situation is dynamic and recommendations continue to evolve with new data.

“MOH will review this when appropriate,” Mr Ong added.

Mr Yip also sought an update on the Novavax vaccine for those under 18, to which Mr Ong said the Health Sciences Authority and Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination are evaluating the vaccine for young people aged 12 to 17.

Novavax has not applied for its vaccine to be administered to children under 12, Mr Ong added.

In February, HSA granted interim authorisation for Novavax’s vaccine to be used here for those aged 18 and above.

Mr Ong also said that bivalent vaccines, which target both the ancestral strain of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant, will be brought into Singapore.

Such vaccines are provided for in Singapore’s agreements with the pharmaceutical companies, he said, adding more details will be shared when arrangements are confirmed.

In the meantime, existing vaccines remain highly protective against severe disease, including for the Omicron BA.5 variant, Mr Ong stressed.

“So if you are eligible to receive another vaccine dose, please receive your vaccination without delay, and not wait for variant-specific vaccines, as Covid-19 is still spreading in the community,” he said.