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    New bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine doses expected in Singapore by month-end

    CNA – Moderna’s new bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine is expected to be available in Singapore by end of this month.

    “We hope to have hundreds of thousands of doses available in Singapore before the end of the month,” the pharmaceutical firm’s senior vice president of commercial vaccines Patrick Bergstedt told CNA on Wednesday.

    His comments came after the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced that it granted interim authorisation for Moderna’s Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron jab, the first bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine in the country.

    Official vaccination recommendations using this booster will be issued by the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination and the Ministry of Health (MOH) in due time, HSA said.

    Moderna, which set up a subsidiary in Singapore to support the delivery of mRNA vaccines, is transferring its manufacturing capacity over to the new updated vaccine, Bergstedt added.

    Vials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. PHOTO: AFP

    “Over time, the original vaccine will no longer be available. It will be replaced by this new updated bivalent vaccine,” he said.

    He gave assurance that Moderna’s original COVID-19 vaccine continues to offer protection, but noted that the level of protection wanes.

    “Because it was not specifically designed against the Omicron variant, that level of protection is not going to be as durable, as broad, as what the new updated vaccine provides,” he said.

    The newly approved booster vaccine contains the original COVID-19 virus and the BA.1 Omicron variant, but Moderna is already in “very advanced” stages of the next vaccine, he said.

    The upcoming vaccine will contain Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 – which led to a recent COVID-19 wave in the country – and the original virus, he said.

    “The timing and availability of that vaccine will depend very much on the regulatory authorisation in Singapore,” he said.

    Singapore will also be bringing in the bivalent vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said earlier this week.

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