Recently, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has assessed the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine to be safe for use on children aged 5 years and above. Hence, children can now be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
This article informs you what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccination for your children in Singapore. It will cover:
- Whether all children are eligible to take the COVID-19 vaccination
- How to get your child vaccinated and where
- Whether you can choose which vaccine your child takes
- What to take note of after your child gets vaccinated
- What happens if your child is not vaccinated and whether he/she will be subject to Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures
Are All Children Eligible to Take the COVID-19 Vaccination?
Any child aged 5 years and above can now be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Singapore.
If your child has a moderate to severe medical condition, your child will be prioritised for access to the vaccine, as he/she is at higher risk of developing a severe reaction to COVID-19. Such medical conditions include compromise of the immune system and chronic diseases of the heart, lung, kidney, and nervous system.
However, if your child’s medical condition is unstable or deteriorating, the vaccination should be postponed until your child’s medical condition is better controlled.
How can I get my child vaccinated?
Under the national vaccination programme, all children below the age of 18 will require the consent of their parents/guardians to book a vaccination appointment.
If your child is 11 years old or younger
To facilitate the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11, the MOE has arranged to send SMS notifications to parents and guardians to book an appointment on their child’s behalf. You may follow the instructions in the SMS notification to book a vaccination appointment for your child.
Alternatively, you may also visit this government website to book a vaccination appointment for your child aged 5 to 11. To facilitate the booking process, you should use your own contact details to register for your child.
Your child will be required to be accompanied by a maximum of one parent or guardian during the vaccination session.
Where you have more than one child aged 5 to 11 years old, you may bring his/her siblings along for vaccination under the “sibling walk-in” arrangement from Monday to Thursday by 7pm. If you have booked separate appointments for both children, you are strongly encouraged to keep only one desired slot and cancel the remaining bookings.
If your child is 12 to 17 years old
If your child is 12 to 17 years old, you may visit this government website to register your child for a vaccination appointment on behalf of your child. Again, you should use your own contact details to register for your child.
Your child will need to be accompanied by a maximum of one parent or guardian during the vaccination session if your child is 12 years old. Those 13 and above do not have to be accompanied.
Where will the vaccination be conducted?
If your child has a moderate to severe medical condition, the vaccination will be conducted in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital or the National University Hospital.
Otherwise, all vaccination appointments will be conducted at paediatric vaccination centres (VCs) islandwide. These VCs will be manned by medical personnel trained in paediatric care. Please refer to this government webpage for the locations of the VCs in Singapore.
Can I Choose Which Vaccine My Child Takes?
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine is available for children aged 5 to 17 years old.
The Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine is available only to children aged 5 to 17 years old who are medically ineligible to complete a full 2-dose regime of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty mRNA vaccine.
The Moderna vaccine is applicable for only those aged 18 and above.
Children aged 5 to 11 years old will be vaccinated with 2 paediatric doses of 10 micrograms each at least 21 days apart.
On the other hand, children aged 12 years and older will be vaccinated with 2 doses of 30 micrograms each. The period between each dose will depend on the type of vaccination taken. For the Pfizer-BioNtech/Comirnaty vaccination, the period will be 21 days for each dose. Children eligible for the Moderna or Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine, on the other hand, will have to wait 28 days before taking the second dose.
As of now, only individuals aged 12 years and above can take booster doses. From 14 March 2022, those aged 12 to 17 years old must get their booster within 270 days of the second dose to maintain their fully vaccinated status.
What Should I Take Note of After My Child’s COVID-19 Vaccination?
Your child might experience the following common side effects as a result of the vaccination:
- Pain, redness, swelling at the injection site
- Fever, chills
- Headache, muscle pain, joint pain
- Lymph node swelling at neck or arms
Note that your child should not engage in strenuous physical activity such as running, weightlifting, competitive sports or ball games for 2 weeks after their first and second vaccination doses.
What Happens If My Child is Not Vaccinated?
It is not compulsory for your child to be vaccinated. Despite this, the Singapore government strongly recommends that all eligible children get vaccinated, as vaccinations will reduce the risk of infection and severe complications in children.
You may be considering against vaccination because your child may develop side effects and/or allergic reactions to the vaccination. However, the likelihood of your child developing an allergic reaction to the vaccine is very rare.
In the unlikely scenario that your child develops an allergic reaction, your child should not continue with the second dose of the vaccine. Your child may then be offered the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine instead.
Will my child be subject to Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS)?
Your child will not be subjected to Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) if he or she is not vaccinated and is 12 years old or younger. Examples of VDS include restrictions that preclude non-vaccinated individuals above 12 years old from dining in in F&B establishments and entering shopping malls. There are currently no plans for the government to introduce VDS measures for young children who are 12 years old or younger.
The government strongly encourages all medically eligible children in Singapore to take up the vaccine. This is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community and protect those who cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19 against the disease.
Although children tend to have a milder response to COVID-19, it is important that we work together to keep Singapore a healthy community in light of the threat of COVID-19.