SINGAPORE: Almost 50,000 COVID-19 vaccination invitations were sent out to the first batch of workers in the education sector on Mar 10, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday (Mar 25).
Of these, more than 80 per cent of those invited made appointments, and some have taken their first dose, said Mr Wong in a Facebook post.
"Vaccination will help to reduce the risk of transmission in the community, together with other measures such as safe management, testing and contact tracing," he said, adding that he is "very glad to see them step forward, in the spirit of protecting not just themselves, but their students and school community."
More than 600 Madrasah employees, including teaching and non-teaching staff, were also invited to take the vaccine, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) on Thursday.
Deputy Muftis Ustaz Dr Mohammad Hannan Hassan and Ustaz Mohd Murat Md Aris joined several Madrasah employees for their first dose of vaccination as "a form of encouragement and support".
Ustaz Dr Hannan Hassan said vaccination is another "important step to continue protective our loved ones and the country".
"It is therefore important that teachers are vaccinated and inoculated. I am also inspired by the strong support from the asatizah and madrasah community," he said.
The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Early Childhood Development Agency announced on Mar 8 that more than 150,000 teachers and other workers in this sector will be offered the vaccine.
The exercise is part of the Ministry of Health's (MOH) efforts to extend vaccination to workers who offer essential services.
"It complements existing efforts to keep our educational institutions safe, as children and the majority of our students are not yet medically eligible for vaccination," authorities said earlier in a press release.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use only in those aged 16 and above. The Moderna vaccine is only approved for use in individuals aged 18 years and older.
The vaccination exercise will cover all staff members in educational institutions, as well as individuals who work in these institutions and come into regular contact with students.
More than 770,000 people in Singapore have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to MOH. Of these, more than 300,000 have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regime.