Covid-19: 6,200 people in Singapore vaccinated to date, senior citizens next in line

Clockwise from top left: Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Singapore Education Minister Lawrence Wong and employees at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital getting vaccinated against Covid-19 January 13, 2021. — TODAY pic
Clockwise from top left: Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Singapore Education Minister Lawrence Wong and employees at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital getting vaccinated against Covid-19 January 13, 2021. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 14 — About 6,200 people have been vaccinated since Singapore kicked off its voluntary vaccination exercise for Covid-19 two weeks ago and senior citizens will be the next group in the community to get their shots at the end of January.

Singapore Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who spoke to reporters yesterday, announced the roll-out of four vaccination centres that will cater to the larger population from this month.

Two centres at Raffles City Convention Centre and Changi Airport Terminal 4 are already operational.

Two more at the former Hong Kah Secondary School in Jurong East and at the Woodlands Galaxy Community Club will be ready next week.

On Tuesday alone, about 2,800 people were vaccinated.

Yesterday, Gan got his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — the only one approved here to date — during a visit to Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.

He said that the Singapore government is planning to ramp up the pace of vaccination to eventually cover the whole population here.

Next month, it will open four more vaccination centres, which will be located at different parts of the island. After that, more centres will be progressively opened as the national vaccination programme expands.

Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry Covid-19 task force with Singapore Education Minister Lawrence Wong, added that vaccinations will be provided at polyclinics and general practitioner clinics.

Wong, who also got his first jab yesterday, said that senior residents would be invited to get vaccinated at the nearest polyclinic, public health preparedness clinics or vaccination centres via a booking system. He did not elaborate on how they will be notified. 

“We want to minimise wastage we want to avoid a situation where (the vaccines are at the clinics) and no one shows up and the vaccines are wasted,” Wong said as he explained the need for such a system.

Covid-19 vaccines have to be stored in a temperature-controlled environment.

Recognising that the process will take time, Wong added that the Singapore government will ramp up its outreach and engagement efforts, particularly to older residents living in public housing estates, to provide more information in different languages and help them with booking appointments online.

This outreach will be expanded progressively to different segments of the population and done in phases, timed together with the arrival of vaccine shipments. 

Gan encouraged Singaporeans to get vaccinated when their turn comes, adding that it will help the economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and resume activities in the community more quickly.

In the last two weeks, various groups of workers, including Home Team officers at the frontlines of the pandemic response and employees from Ren Ci nursing home in Bukit Batok, have been taking their shots.

Eligible Singapore Airlines employees, such as cabin crew and pilots, started taking their jabs yesterday.

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post yesterday that air crew and frontline airport workers are being vaccinated at the arrival hall of Changi Airport Terminal 4 while marine pilots, crew and frontline workers who have to go on board ships got their jabs at Raffles City Convention Centre.

Ong added that small groups would be vaccinated this week, as part of an operational warm-up to prepare for full-scale operations next week.  —  TODAY

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