SINGAPORE: More than 52,000 workers across the transport sector have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced on Thursday (Feb 11).
These include 39,000 frontline staff in the aviation and maritime sectors or about 90 per cent of the 43,000 expected to be vaccinated under the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise launched last month.
Meanwhile 14,000 workers from Singapore's public bus and train operators have received their first jab of the vaccine since Jan 25, with 66,000 more land transport workers scheduled to receive their vaccination over the coming months, MOT said.
Additionally, three flights operated by the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group's carriers - SIA, budget airline Scoot and regional carrier Silkair - took off on Thursday with all pilots and cabin crew vaccinated against COVID-19.
READ: SIA cabin crew member might have been infected on flight, 4 passengers also tested positive for COVID-19: MOH
SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong told the media that 85 per cent of the company's staff who had signed up to be vaccinated had already received their first dose.
On Thursday morning, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung visited SIA Cabin Crew Control Centre at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and spoke to the crew of SIA flight SQ956, which was flying to Jakarta.
Speaking to reporters after the event, the minister noted that aviation and maritime workers had started receiving the second dose of the vaccine on Monday.
Passengers would have a lot more confidence going on SIA flights knowing that about 90 per cent of the staff they encounter are vaccinated against COVID-19, said Mr Ong, who previously announced the goal of making SIA the world's first carrier fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In Singapore, where there are few locally transmitted cases, vaccinating airline workers plays a role in securing the country’s borders against the pandemic, he said.
Responding to a question about how far along Singapore was in its goal to be a vaccine distribution hub for the region, Mr Ong said production of the vaccines had not been ramped up to meet demand, but said Singapore was well-placed to act as a hub once manufacturing picks up.
Commenting on the case of an SIA cabin crew who had tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain of the coronavirus on Tuesday, Mr Ong said investigations were still ongoing and the rest of the crew on the flight to the United Arab Emirates had not been infected.
“During the stopover, she came into contact with some cleaners at the Dubai airport. So I think these are the facts that we are now looking at, investigations are still ongoing,” he said, adding the Health Ministry would provide more information once findings were available.