SINGAPORE, July 7 — Once at least half of the population here is fully vaccinated, the authorities will introduce differentiated Covid-19 measures where those who are fully vaccinated can gather in larger groups for activities such as dining in at food establishments.

Fully vaccinated individuals refer to those who have received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, and have waited an additional two weeks after the second dose for optimal protection, MOH said in a statement today.

Recovered Covid-19 patients would also qualify as they would have developed immunity against the coronavirus, the ministry added.

However, those who have opted to take the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine instead will not be eligible to take part in more activities when the 50 per cent milestone is reached as there is insufficient data on the Chinese vaccine’s efficacy against the Delta variant, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said at a virtual media conference with the multi-ministry task force handling the pandemic.

MOH said it expects half the population to be fully vaccinated by the end of July.

When more people are vaccinated, it reduces the risk of spread from an infected person to another, in particular a non-vaccinated person who is vulnerable to the disease,” said MOH in explaining why there may be different limits set for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. 

Differentiated rules for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals could mean that fully vaccinated people may gather in groups of eight for high-risk indoor maskless activities while those who are not fully vaccinated may only do so in groups of five or fewer, said MOH. 

While working from home will still be the default arrangement, MOH said employers may be able to have more workers return to the office depending on the total percentage of employees who are fully vaccinated.

Venues and activities such as cinemas, places of worship, conferences, exhibitions, live performances, spectator sports and wedding solemnisation could also admit up to 500 people, as long as they are all fully vaccinated. 

Non-vaccinated individuals may, however, be allowed to participate in higher-risk activities if they go through pre-event testing. 

Update on national vaccination programme

Ong also provided an update on the progress of the national vaccination programme here.

As of today, a total of 5.9 million doses have been administered with more than 3.7 million people having received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

He added that 2.1 million, or 39 per cent, of the population here has received both doses of the vaccine.

Ong also gave the figures of the number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or have booked an appointment to receive the jab, broken down by age group:

Seniors above age 70: 71 per cent

Age 60 to 69: 85 per cent

Age 50 to 59: 86 per cent

Age 40 to 49: 86 per cent

Age 30 to 39: 78 per cent

Age 20 to 29: 80 per cent

Age 12 to 19: 80 per cent 

Ong said based on the numbers, Singapore can “realistically expect our population to eventually reach this level of vaccination, about 80 per cent or so”.

Still, he stressed that more can be done to get seniors vaccinated as they still have the lowest proportion of people who have booked an appointment or received their first dose. 

The Government, he said, will go “knocking on doors” to raise awareness among seniors if need be. 

He also urged members of the public who know of seniors who are still hesitant to take the vaccine to persuade them to do so. 

“For countries that have opened up, it does show that those who fall severely ill are still the elderly and the seniors,” said Ong.

MOH said in the statement that those who have already booked their appointment for their second dose six to eight weeks away from their first shot can now also bring their appointments forward to four weeks.

“We urge everyone who is eligible to step forward and get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said the ministry.

“Any further steps towards reopening and a Singapore with endemic Covid-19 will only be possible when more of our population is protected through vaccination.” — TODAY