SINGAPORE (Kyodo) -- The Singapore government said Friday it will start giving a booster vaccine shot to people aged 60 and older as well as immunocompromised people this month to better protect them against the coronavirus.
The move comes as infections with the highly contagious Delta variant are increasing, even though the country has fully inoculated at least 80 percent of the population since vaccinations began in late December.
Under the new policy, people aged 60 and older will receive a third shot six to nine months after completing a two-dose regimen of mRNA vaccine.
Several Cabinet ministers who head the government's task force to combat the pandemic also signaled Friday that Singapore has moved to a new stage in its battle against COVID-19, due in part to difficulties containing the Delta variant.
One of them, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, said that going forward, the government will put more emphasis on ICU bed occupancy rates and the number of people who become severely ill rather than daily new cases.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore will transition into a "COVID-resilient nation" that lives with the disease caused by the virus.
"In the past we tried to suppress every cluster, trace down to the last infection and try to eliminate them," he said. "But with the more transmissible Delta variant, this will be very challenging to do and we may not be prepared to pay the price of doing so in the form of border closures, circuit breaker, heightened alert. It is just not sustainable."