Two Singapore residents may have received the omicron variant even after receiving Covid-19 booster injections, in cases that could shed light on the protection offered by a third dose of vaccine.
A 24-year-old female airport passenger service employee has returned a preliminary positive test to omicron, in what would be the first local case of the city-state variant, the health ministry said in a statement late Thursday. The second person is considered an imported case after returning from Germany via the vaccinated itinerary on December 6. Both had received a third dose of vaccines, the ministry said.
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said earlier this week that initial lab studies show a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine may be needed to neutralize the omicron variant. Company researchers saw a 25-fold reduction in neutralizing antibodies that fight the variant, compared to the original strain of the virus, in people who received just two injections. However, a booster vaccination with an additional injection of the vaccine restored protection to a level comparable to the initial two dose regimen.
“Given the high transmissibility and spread to many parts of the world, we should expect more omicron cases at our borders and also within our community,” said Singapore’s Ministry of Health.
Both people are recovering in isolation at the National Center for Infectious Diseases, and all close contacts will be placed in a 10-day quarantine at designated facilities, the ministry said.
The airport worker had been tested as part of weekly tests for front-line workers. According to the statement, she was asymptomatic when she was discovered by the tests. In the second case, the 46-year-old had tested negative with a polymerase chain reaction test on arrival. However, the next day she developed a runny nose and the day after she sought medical attention when she tested positive.
Singapore has seen a sharp decline in the number of intercourse cases in the past month, along with a significant easing of the hospital burden. the city-state has one of the world’s best vaccination rates, according to data collected by Bloomberg. 87% of the total population is fully vaccinated, while 96% of those who qualify are fully vaccinated, most with Pfizer or Moderna. About 29% have also received booster shots. Government officials have said jabs for ages 5-11 will be offered soon.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)