Daily round-up, Sep 14: Singapore authorises bivalent Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine; Malaysian ringgit slips to 24-year low vs US dollar

Daily round-up, Sep 14: Singapore authorises bivalent Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine; Malaysian ringgit slips to 24-year low vs US dollar

Let’s get you up to speed with the day’s stories.

Singapore has granted interim authorisation for its first bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine. The Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron COVID-19 jab by Moderna comprises two components that target the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and the Omicron BA.1 variant respectively.

It is an updated version of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

It is authorised for use as a booster in individuals aged 18 years and above, who have received primary series COVID-19 vaccination.

Safety data from the clinical studies showed that the bivalent vaccine was generally well-tolerated. The Health Sciences Authority added that it will take the necessary action and provide updates to the public if significant safety concerns are identified.

Just what is a bivalent vaccine, who can take it, and what are the side effects? CNA explains what you need to know before scheduling your next booster shot.

The labour market continued to improve in the second quarter of 2022, with total employment reaching 99.5 per cent of the level in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Labour Market Report.

Resident employment grew to 4.2 per cent above the pre-pandemic level in June, while non-resident employment remained 10 per cent below the pre-pandemic level. Despite the improvements in Q2, “there is heightened economic uncertainty ahead,” said the ministry.

The tourism and aviation sectors are expected to continue to benefit from a strong recovery in air passengers and international visitor arrivals. But growth in outward-oriented sectors like finance and insurance services is expected to slow due to the global headwinds.

Non-resident employment is expected to rise as it catches up with pre-pandemic levels, but resident employment growth is likely to be more “subdued”, MOM said.

The ringgit slipped further to a fresh 24-year low against the US dollar at the opening on Wednesday (Sep 14), in line with lower oil prices as more investors shifted towards safe-haven assets.

At its opening on Wednesday, the Malaysian ringgit slid to 4.5200/5220 against the greenback from 4.5070/5085 at yesterday’s close.

A trader cited the release of US Consumer Price Index (CPI) data showing higher-than-expected inflation, saying the markets had responded strongly to it, resulting in another strong appreciation of the US dollar against other currencies. 

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded higher against a basket of major currencies, including the Singapore dollar and Japanese yen.

Apple users are advised to update their devices to the latest versions immediately after hackers were found actively exploiting a “critical vulnerability”, the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT) said in a notice on Wednesday (Sep 14).

This is the eighth zero-day vulnerability used in attacks against iPhones and Macs since the start of the year.

Users are also encouraged to enable automatic software updates under the settings function in their devices.

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