SINGAPORE - Seniors who prefer the Sinopharm vaccine can get free vaccinations at Healthway clinics from Wednesday (Sept 8). The medical group has tied up with real estate company OUE to sponsor full vaccination for 1,000 seniors aged 60 and above.
"This initiative is in support of the Government's efforts to boost Covid-19 vaccination take-up rate among seniors who are at higher risk of falling critically ill if they are infected," Healthway Medical Corporation said in a statement on Tuesday.
Seniors aged 60 and above can register online for the free vaccination and those who have previously registered their interest with Healthway have been invited to book their appointments. The age cut-off is Sept 1 this year.
The Sinopharm vaccine will be rolled out at Healthway GP clinics in the coming weeks, starting with three clinics on Wednesday.
The vaccine is administered in two doses given three to four weeks apart. It is approved for use on anyone aged 18 years and above with no history of anaphylaxis and who is not pregnant. Two doses of the vaccine cost $99 at Healthway.
Unlike Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna which are mRNA vaccines, Sinopharm uses an inactivated virus and it is reported to have a 79 per cent efficacy rate, Healthway said, citing the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Singapore allows private healthcare providers to bring in the Sinopharm vaccine as it is on the WHO Emergency Use Listing, Healthway added.
"Through this initiative, we hope to contribute to the national effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible, especially our seniors, who are more at risk," said Mr Abram Suhardiman, executive director and deputy chief executive of Healthway.
The vaccination rate for seniors aged 60 to 69 is 91 per cent, and that for seniors aged 70 and above is 85 per cent, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its daily update on Monday.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said last Friday that Singapore will start giving its first Covid-19 vaccine booster shots from this month to seniors aged 60 and above, residents of aged-care facilities, and those whose immune systems are compromised.
Seniors should receive a booster dose of mRNA vaccine six to nine months after completing their two-dose vaccination regimen, said MOH. This means the first batch of seniors aged 60 and above who completed their vaccination regimen around March this year will be eligible for a third dose later this month.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.