SINGAPORE: People who are severely immunocompromised are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination said on Wednesday (Jul 28).
“With the international roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination, accrued data has shown that vaccination is safe and can provide protection against infection and severe disease among immunocompromised persons, who are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19,” said the committee.
To help ensure that their immune systems are better able to respond to the COVID-19 vaccination, some groups of patients should get a memo from their specialist on their suitability and present it to the vaccination provider before getting their jabs.
They include patients with active cancer on treatment – such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiotherapy – defined as treatment in the last three months or planned in the next two months.
Patients with transplants within the past three months, as well as patients on aggressive immunotherapy for non-cancer conditions, should also obtain a memo on their suitability.
People living with HIV can also be vaccinated regardless of their CD4 count, without a need for a memo, said the expert committee.
COVID-19 vaccination for severely immunocompromised people can be done at hospitals or a community vaccination site.
The committee noted that the effectiveness of vaccines in people who are immunocompromised may be reduced.
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“As such, it is important for them to take precautions against infection, including avoiding crowded places and practising good hand hygiene,” it said.
“Household members and persons around immunocompromised persons are urged to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of being infected and transmitting COVID-19 to them.”
The committee also said that those who have recovered from COVID-19 are recommended to receive a single dose of vaccine under the national vaccination programme, at least three months after the date of infection.
This is a reduction from the previous six-month restriction.
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“COVID-19 vaccination is important to protect oneself and those around us from COVID-19 infection and severe disease. With the change in recommendations, more vulnerable persons can be vaccinated,” said the expert committee.
It added that those who are eligible are encouraged to be vaccinated, especially with the current surge in local COVID-19 cases.