Waiting interval between the first and second BioNTech vaccine shots for adults aged between 18 and 59 has been extended from three weeks to eight weeks, the government said on Friday following latest advice made by health experts.
The government said experts reviewed the situation of myocarditis following the use of the BioNTech vaccine
in a meeting today, and found a longer dosing interval between the first and second doses would result in better immune response and lower risk of myocarditis and pericarditis.
The extension was introduced by the two scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection after “taking into account the local context, the World Health Organization (WHO)'s updated recommendation and the latest overseas practices,” the statement read.
“The vaccination schedule for other groups would remain unchanged,” it added.
Citizens who have made an appointment for receiving their second dose of the BioNTech vaccine
can cancel their booking or change the reserved time slot via the designated website later.
They can also make an appointment for receiving their second dose at a time slot eight weeks after they have received their first dose of the BioNTech vaccine
In the same meeting, the two committees advised against mass vaccination to deal with possible monkeypox outbreak and the use of first- or second-generation smallpox vaccine
For post exposure treatment, the committees recommended administering the third-generation vaccine
to contacts of cases within four days of first exposure, and up to 14 days if asymptomatic, depending on the availability of the monkeypox vaccine
They also suggested administering the monkeypox vaccine
to high-risk groups as prevention measures, including medics responsible to look after monkeypox patients and laboratory workers dealing with zoonotic pox viruses, given that the vaccine
becomes widely available.
“In principle, one dose would be sufficient in people with past history of smallpox vaccination and the monkeypox vaccine
should be given at least four weeks before or after an mRNA Covid
, if possible,” it said.