Singapore not counting Sinovac shots in COVID-19 vaccination tally

Reuters

Posted at Jul 07 2021 04:05 PM

Singapore not counting Sinovac shots in COVID-19 vaccination tally 1
People queue to inquire about the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic, during the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore, June 18, 2021. Chen Lin, Reuters

SINGAPORE - Singapore has excluded those who received Sinovac Biotech's shots from its national COVID-19 vaccination count, according to the city-state's health ministry.

"The national vaccination numbers reflect only those vaccinated under the national vaccination program," the ministry said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Currently, this only includes those vaccinated with the Moderna Inc and Pfizer-BioNTech/Cominarty vaccines, it said.

Sinovac's CoronaVac shot is not part of Singapore's national vaccination program and the city-state has said it is still awaiting critical data from the company.

It has, however, allowed the usage of the vaccine by private health-care institutions under a special access route, following an emergency use approval by the World Health Organization. Selected private clinics can draw on the country's current stock of 200,000 CoronaVac doses.

About 3.7 million people have received at least 1 dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, covering about 65 percent of the population, and nearly 2.2 million have completed the regimen.

Singapore has set a target for two-thirds of its people to complete the 2-dose regimen by around Aug. 9.

Both have shown efficacy rates of well over 90 percent against symptomatic disease in clinical trials, compared with trials for Sinovac that have shown results from as low as 51 percent to about 84 percent. Sinovac did not respond to a request for comment on its efficacy rates earlier this week.

Kenneth Mak, Singapore's director of medical services, said last month evidence from other countries showed people who had taken the Sinovac vaccine were still getting infected. "There is a significant risk of vaccine breakthrough," he said.

Just over 17,000 people in Singapore have received 1 dose of CoronaVac as of July 3. These records will be captured in a national immunization registry.

Recipients of the Sinovac vaccine are also not exempt from COVID-19 tests required before attending certain events or entering some venues. Those who have completed the full vaccination regimen with Moderna or Pfizer are exempt from such pre-event testing.

"COVID-19 vaccines that are not part of our national vaccination program may not have documented sufficient data on their protection against COVID-19 infection, especially against the Delta variant that is currently circulating," the health ministry said last week.

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