SINGAPORE: Singapore citizens aged 12 to 39 can register online for their COVID-19 vaccinations from Friday (Jun 11), the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Thursday.
"This is a big group of 1.5 million people who have yet to be vaccinated," Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said at a COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Thursday.
Children who turn 12 this year must have crossed their birthday before they are eligible to book an appointment, MOH said.
Under the national vaccination programme, children or wards below the age of 18 will require the consent of their parent or guardian to book a vaccination appointment. Parents or guardians can register interest for their child or ward to receive the vaccination on vaccine.gov.sg.
"Parents or guardians are reminded to ensure that their child/ward bring along documentary proof of their consent to the vaccination site for verification," MOH added.
Parents or guardians of their child or ward aged 13 and above are not required to accompany their child or ward to the vaccination site on the day of vaccination.
READ: Up to 5 in a group allowed from Jun 14; dining-in may resume on Jun 21 in phased easing of COVID-19 curbs
However, children or wards aged 12 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Mr Ong said those who book their vaccination appointments at a centre offering the Moderna vaccine will likely get an earlier slot as younger students are only able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
MOH said registrants will be progressively invited to book their vaccination appointments via an SMS with a personalised booking link sent to the mobile number they registered with.
"Registrants can expect to receive this SMS a few days after registration," the ministry said.
"However, we seek your patience and understanding that the SMS may take up to two weeks for some, as more appointment slots for vaccination will be made available as more supplies arrive."
Those who had registered their interest earlier on vaccine.gov.sg will not need to re-register. The invitation to register will be eventually extended to the rest of the population over the coming months, MOH added.
VACCINATION FOR RECOVERED PEOPLE
MOH also recommended a single dose of vaccine for people who had earlier been infected with COVID-19 and have since recovered.
"There is evidence indicating that a single dose would further boost their immunity against COVID-19," it explained.
READ: More than 30,000 people with history of anaphylaxis will be invited to receive COVID-19 vaccine: Ong Ye Kung
As recovered individuals within the first six months after their infection are likely to still have a strong immune response that has not faded, MOH said it will prioritise those who had an earlier COVID-19 infection from more than six months ago for the one-dose vaccination at this point.
They can register from Friday onwards if they are part of a population group that is already eligible for vaccination, MOH added.
"STEADY PROGRESS" WITH VACCINATION PROGRAMME
Singapore is making "steady progress" with its overall vaccination programme, MOH said.
As of Jun 9, MOH has administered more than 4.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Around 2.5 million people have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, of whom about 1.9 million individuals have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regimen.
The overall take-up rate has also been increasing, MOH said.
To date, about 74 per cent of eligible seniors aged 60 and above, close to 74 per cent of eligible persons aged 45 to 59, and 65 per cent of eligible persons aged 40 to 44 have received the COVID-19 vaccination or booked their vaccination appointments.
Mr Ong said this means about 44 per cent of Singapore's population, or 2.5 million people, have received at least one dose of vaccine.
"We are now vaccinating about 49,000 doses on a daily basis. And we have the capacity to maintain this acceleration of our vaccine rollout provided our supplies are steady and continue to arrive," he said.
Mr Ong reiterated that vaccination against COVID-19 helps reduce the possibility of serious disease.
As of Apr 11, Mr Ong said 9 per cent of COVID-19 cases who are unvaccinated developed serious disease, meaning they needed supplemental oxygen or are warded in the intensive care unit.
In contrast, Mr Ong said there are currently 131 COVID-19 cases who are vaccinated, with one patient - who was already ill before infection - requiring supplemental oxygen.
"In other words, 9 per cent versus less than 1 per cent," he said.
READ: COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits for self-testing to be 'sold by pharmacists' from Jun 16 - MOH
MOH said that vaccination can help Singapore reopen safely when the country collectively achieves a high level of population coverage.
"Further relaxations such as for group and event sizes, capacity limits, distancing requirements, mask-wearing and travel will be introduced when a sufficient proportion of the population has been fully vaccinated, especially for those who are vaccinated," it stated.