3rd vaccine jab mooted

The two scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection met today and discussed the need for fully vaccinated people to be given a third vaccine dose in the future, particularly those in certain groups.   Speaking at a media session after the meeting, Scientific Committee on Emerging & Zoonotic Diseases Chairman Prof David Hui said those in high risk groups would likely require a third jab.   “In the future, there will be a need for an additional dose, especially for the high risk groups like the immunocompromised and the elderly population, and also with the emergence of variants of concern.    “But when we need to provide the additional dose depends on several factors.   “First, what is the safest time interval between the second and third dose.   “Also, there are some developments in the second-generation vaccines.   “Also, we do need to have more information and data on the effectiveness of the additional dose in different specific sub-groups.   “The fourth factor that we need to consider is the local infection prevention control strategy. Currently we are doing fine, there are no cases.   “Perhaps two months before opening the boundary, we can start vaccinating the high risk groups.”   The committees also deliberated the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children and adolescents, and noted that myopericarditis is a known side effect of the BioNTech vaccine reported both overseas and locally, with the majority having occurred after the second dose in adolescents.   To balance the risk and benefit in the local setting, the committees recommended teenagers aged 12 to 17 to receive just one dose of the BioNTech vaccine instead of two.   The committees also recommended that the Government seek further confirmatory data from the pharmaceutical company with a view to extending the use of the Sinovac vaccine to those aged 12 to 17.   In view of the committees' recommendation, the Department of Health reminded teenagers aged 12 to 17 who have reserved their second dose of the BioNTech vaccine that they can opt to cancel the appointment online from tomorrow.   For those with special needs who choose to receive the second dose at the community vaccination centres, medical personnel will explain the recommendation and relevant risk to them and their guardians before they make the appropriate decision.

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