SINGAPORE: About 1,050 frontline healthcare officers from the Home Team will be vaccinated for COVID-19 over the coming weeks, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Monday (Jan 11).
Among those getting vaccine shots: The Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) officers, staff from the Home Team Medical Services Division and Singapore Prison Service medical services division officers.
Frontline officers from the Home Team Science and Technology Agency who run laboratory tests on swab samples from travellers will also get the vaccine.
A total of 1,123 Home Team officers had been identified for this vaccination operation, and 94 per cent had agreed to receive the jab, MHA said. Eighty officers were vaccinated on Monday.
The vaccination exercise, including the second dose, for the 1,050 Home Team officers is expected to be completed in six weeks, MHA said.
This comes after the Government had accepted a vaccination strategy that involves first inoculating healthcare workers starting Dec 30 last year, and rolling it out to more healthcare institutions in the coming weeks.
The aim is also to vaccinate the elderly, starting with those aged 70 years and above, from February, before vaccinating other Singaporeans and long-term residents who are medically eligible for vaccination.
The COVID-19 vaccine, developed by United States pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, requires two injections given 21 days apart.
MHA said on Monday that officers who are vaccinated will be monitored for 30 minutes for any adverse reaction. They will be scheduled for their second dose in about three weeks.
"Prior to vaccination, all officers were screened for their eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, based on their medical history and pre-existing medical conditions," MHA said.
"Those with medical conditions of concern will be reviewed by Home Team Medical Officers before they are vaccinated."
FIRST TO GET THE JAB
The first Home Team healthcare frontliner to be vaccinated was SCDF Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) Mohamed Shafiee Jamin. The 38-year-old is an SCDF paramedic at Kallang Fire Station who responds to day-to-day medical emergencies.
WO1 Shafiee has responded to and conveyed suspected COVID-19 cases as part of his job.
“The vaccine gives me the assurance and peace of mind in safely carrying out my frontline responder duties as a paramedic in the SCDF," he said.
"Taking the vaccine is not just for my personal safety, but also for the safety of the patients, my co-workers and my loved ones."
WO1 Shafiee's wife is also an SCDF paramedic and will receive the vaccine in the coming days.
READ: COVID-19: Government accepts committee's recommendations on vaccine strategy, to begin vaccinating healthcare workers from Dec 30
Another Home Team officer vaccinated on Monday was Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt Col) Janice Oh. The 42-year-old is a Senior Assistant Director from SCDF’s EMS department.
Lt Col Oh plans policies and exercises for the EMS team, including the COVID-19 response and vaccination exercise. She is also involved in frontline paramedic duties.
The officer said SCDF EMS personnel will continue to attend to suspected COVID-19 cases in full personal protective equipment regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
“SCDF EMS personnel serve on the frontlines on a daily basis and come into close contact with members of the public in their role," she added.
"Getting vaccinated provides both SCDF EMS personnel and the public additional protection against COVID-19."