'2 doses are not enough': Ong Ye Kung urges public to get their booster shots to prepare for new Covid-19 wave

PHOTO: Screengrab/TikTok/Ongyekung

With more restrictions lifted and eased over the past few months, life has started to feel more like how it was post-pandemic. 

However, while things have gone back to normal, Covid-19 is still a threat. 

And for those who have not taken their booster shot yet, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung shared on Monday (June 20) in a video clip uploaded on TikTok why they should. Here are three things to know.

1. A new Omicron wave is expected to hit us soon

A new Omicron wave is expected to come to Singapore in the next one to two months, warned Health Minister Ong.

Singapore's first community cases of the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 were detected in May, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) then.

These sub-variants are more transmissible and effective at dodging the immune system. 

And people infected with the earliest version of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus may be vulnerable to reinfection with later versions of Omicron even if they have been vaccinated and boosted. 

"But not to worry, with vaccination we can all be safe," Ong reassured in the TikTok video.

2. Two doses are no longer enough 

Two doses of the Covid-19 vaccines are no longer enough as they were designed for the wild-type virus.

But with variants such as Delta and Omicron, three doses are required — the primary series (first two shots) and booster, said Ong in the video.

While two doses of vaccines provide good protection against severe disease, there is weaker protection against the Covid-19 infection over time, particularly with the Delta and Omicron variants, said MOH

Hence, a booster shot is needed to reduce chances of Covid-19 infection and transmission.

3. Booster shots reduce chances of death

Seniors 60 years old and above who are unvaccinated have a 40 in 1,000 chance of death or critical illness requiring intensive care while those with two shots have a 10 in 1,000 chance of this happening, said Ong.

However, those who have taken all their vaccine shots have a three in 1,000 chance of these negative outcomes, he added.

"Currently for seniors 60 years old and above, there are still 80,000 of you who have not taken your boosters. You need to take your boosters," Ong said, urging seniors not to delay taking their booster shots any longer. 

https://www.tiktok.com/@ongyekung/video/7111156888112270594?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7104443352209344002

Currently, some 77 per cent of Singapore's total population, or around 4.2 million people, have had booster shots, reported The Straits Times yesterday.

Singapore began rolling out its booster shot programme nine months ago, starting with seniors, residents of aged-care facilities and people who have weakened immune systems.

Ong said that seniors can walk into any vaccination centre to get their shots, adding that MOH will deploy mobile vaccination teams soon.

ALSO READ: Next Covid-19 wave could hit Singapore in July or August, says Ong Ye Kung

syarifahsn@asiaone.com