Most SAF regulars, full-time national servicemen to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-2021, says Singapore’s Defence Ministry

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (second, right) received his first dose of the vaccine on January 14, 2021. Also getting the jab was chief of the Singapore Armed Forces Medical Corps, Colonel (Dr) Lo Hong Yee (far left). ― TODAY pic
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (second, right) received his first dose of the vaccine on January 14, 2021. Also getting the jab was chief of the Singapore Armed Forces Medical Corps, Colonel (Dr) Lo Hong Yee (far left). ― TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Jan 21 — The majority of regular and full-time national servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are expected to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the middle of this year, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said today.

This comes a week after the first batch of 22 SAF medical and front-line personnel received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Thursday.

Among them were Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad. 

This phase of the vaccination exercise for medical and front-line personnel, which will include a second dose of the vaccine, is expected to be completed in six weeks, Mindef said in a Facebook post. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only one approved here so far, is administered in two doses 21 days apart. 

Mindef said that all active and medically eligible SAF service personnel would be able to receive the vaccination.

With plans still under way, it did not specify the number of servicemen expected to be vaccinated.

“Wide vaccination coverage in the SAF will protect our servicemen and women, support the SAF’s operational readiness, and enable the wider resumption of training and force generation activities,” it added.

Dr Ng, who described the jab as “smooth and painless”, said: “We want to do (the vaccination) safely and, with the experience that I’ve had, they’ve worked out the processes very well.”

Zaqy said that the process was “fast and efficient”, and strongly encouraged all SAF crew to be vaccinated.Doing so will allow SAF to continue its tempo of training and ensure that the defence of Singapore continues efficiently, he added.

Colonel (Dr) Lo Hong Yee, chief of the SAF Medical Corps, was the first member of the armed forces who received the vaccination last Thursday. 

He said that it was the responsibility of medical crew to get vaccinated in order “to remain healthy and ready to provide care” for other servicemen.

Singapore’s vaccination exercise began on Dec 30 last year and various groups of workers have since been inoculated against the coronavirus.

They include healthcare workers and Home Team officers on the front lines of the pandemic response, employees from Ren Ci nursing home in Bukit Batok as well as workers from the aviation and maritime sectors.

Senior citizens are the next in line to be vaccinated from the end of this month. ― TODAY

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