First for Asia: Singapore approves Pfizer vaccine for teens amid surge in COVID-19 cases

WION Web Team
World Published: May 19, 2021, 06:01 PM(IST)

People in Singapore are having fewer children nowadays (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Schools were ordered to shift to online learning until the end of term on May 28 after coronavirus cases were detected last Sunday worrying health officials.

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, Singapore on Wednesday authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for teenagers aged 12 to 15.

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The country has become only the world's third and the first in Asia to allow teenagers to be vaccinated.

Singapore's health minister Ong Ye Kung asserted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine demonstrated "high safety and efficacy" for the age group of 12 to 15 years old. 

The health sciences authority has extended the use of the vaccine after reviewing clinical data submitted by the manufacturer, reports said.

Singapore has reportedly inoculated at least 20 per cent of the population with two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna amid limited vaccine supply.

The country had earlier announced the closure of schools after the virus strain first found in India had led to a surge of COVID-19 cases as it moved to ban restaurant visits and limited public gatherings.

Schools were ordered to shift to online learning until the end of term on May 28 after coronavirus cases were detected last Sunday worrying health officials.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said B.1.6.17 strain appeared to affect children more as authorities said there was sharp increase in the number of community cases in the country.

Authorities had also postponed the travel bubble with Hong Kong due to start on May 26 as COVID-19 cases increased during the month. It was the second time it was called off after it was slated to first start in November last year.

"In light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB," Singapore's Ministry of Transport had said. 

Singapore so far has recorded 61,600 coronavirus cases and 31 fatalities since last year when the pandemic took hold in the country which is one of the lowest in Asia.

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