If you have a teenager aged between 12 and 15 years old, they are now eligible to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine in Singapore
With the recent news of many children getting Covid-19, it’s reassuring to know that Singapore is ramping up their vaccination programme. Teenagers aged 12 – 15 years old will now be able to get vaccinated against Covid-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. Starting from 1 June, students will be invited to sign up for vaccination slots. Experts have found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine demonstrates high efficacy and safety for 12 – 15-year-olds and are encouraging those eligible to register for the vaccination. This comes as news that more sub-groups of people (pregnant women and cancer patients on active treatment) are safe to receive the vaccine.
You may have lots of questions about the Covid-19 vaccine for your teen so here are some Q & As that may help:
Can my 11-year-old sign up for the vaccine as they turn 12 soon?
At the moment only children who are at least 12 years old as of June 1, 2021, are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. Those who turn 12 after June 1 will be invited for vaccination at a later date. As the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has only been authorised for use in individuals aged 12 and above, students who have yet to turn 12 during the duration of the vaccination exercise will not be medically eligible to receive the vaccination. Parents can register their interest for their child to receive the vaccination once their child turns 12. Trials for the vaccine are still ongoing for children below the age of 12.
Who is currently eligible for this teen vaccination?
According to a recent Straits Times article, the Covid-19 vaccine for teens is only for ‘primary and secondary schools, junior colleges, the Millennia Institute, madrasahs, special education schools, and the international arms of Hwa Chong Institution, Anglo-Chinese School and St Joseph’s Institution. Full-time students in polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the autonomous universities will also be invited for the jab, including those enrolled in full-time continuing education and training programmes such as master’s courses. This does not cover students in private schools and other international schools, who will be eligible for the vaccine when it is made available to those in their age bands.’
My teen is in an international school – when will they be eligible for the vaccine?
MOH has yet to release this information – we will update this section when they do. However, we do know that certain international schools have as of June 14th, been invited by the government for preliminary registration for students aged 12yrs and older to receive the vaccine.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced in his national address on May 31 that vaccination for those aged 39 and below will commence from mid-June, and that the national vaccination programme will be opened to the rest of the eligible population after a two-week priority period.
Is it mandatory for teens aged 12 – 15 yrs old to have the vaccine?
No, the vaccination is not mandatory but MOE is encouraging all medically eligible individuals aged 12 years and above to take up vaccination so as to reduce the chances of Covid-19 infection for students and help reduce the severity of the disease.
My teen is in special education, will they be accommodated?
If your child aged 12 and above is in SPED school (special education school) and will find it challenging to visit a vaccination site in person, they can receive their covid-19 vaccination from mobile vaccination teams. Your school will share the registration instructions and guidelines.
Can I accompany my teen to get their Covid-19 vaccination?
If your child is below 13 years old, parents should accompany their child to the vaccination centre. While parents are not required to accompany older children who are 13 and above to the vaccination centre, should they wish to do so, they will be provided with a family waiting area outside the vaccination room, to avoid congestion and ensure compliance to Safe Management Measures at the vaccination centres.
Should I give my teen painkillers before their vaccination?
There is no role in pre-medicating children before the vaccination or right after if there are no side effects present.
Can my teen choose which vaccine they would like to receive?
Based on the Health Sciences Authority’s (HSA) approval of the medical suitability of the vaccines, teems 12 – 17 will only be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, while individuals aged 18 and above will be offered a choice between the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
Will the Covid-19 vaccination have more adverse side effects in children?
The safety profile of the Pfizer vaccine in the younger population is consistent with the known safety profile in the adult population. The side effects include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, chills and fever, which generally resolve on their own within a few days.
Can I reschedule my teen’s appointment if it clashes with an exam?
For requests or queries on the rescheduling of vaccination appointments, parents can call the Ministry of Health at 1800 333 9999. MOE has assured everyone that if students’ upcoming oral national examination schedules clash with their appointment date for the first or second dose of their vaccination, changes to their oral examination dates within the oral examination window can be accommodated where possible, or else new appointment dates for the vaccination can also be scheduled. Special Consideration may be applicable if rescheduling is not possible.
I have a teenager between the ages of 12 and 15 but I have not received the vaccination invite SMS.
Parents of students in the O, N and A levels (or equivalent) cohorts who have yet to receive the SMS by 3 June should contact the child’s school for assistance. Parents of students in other cohorts will progressively receive the SMSes. Schools will also be reaching out to parents of students in mainstream primary and secondary schools separately with additional details on their vaccinations.
In general, parents of students aged 12-15 should receive their SMSes by the end of the second week of June.