SINGAPORE: People aged 45 to 59 years old can start registering their interest to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with immediate effect, as the Government expands its vaccination programme to younger age groups.
They may register their interest at vaccine.gov.sg, and they will receive an SMS with a personalised URL allowing them to book their appointments online.
“With the vaccination for the prioritised groups well under way, we are now ready to expand the vaccination programme to younger age groups in the population,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Wednesday (Mar 24) at a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.
Registrants will receive SMSes as soon as there are slots available, which should happen within a few days of registration.
However, the timing may vary and it may take longer if there is a delay in the vaccine delivery schedule, said the Ministry of Health in a press release.
“A key factor in how fast we vaccinate our population is the supply of vaccines,” said Mr Gan, adding that the Government will continue to monitor Singapore’s supplies closely.
“But we expect global supplies to remain tight and supply chains may be disrupted from time to time, which will affect our pace of vaccination.”
He added: “I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated when your turn comes, to protect yourselves and fellow Singaporeans from infection.”
GOOD PROGRESS FOR VACCINATIONS
As of Mar 23, more than 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, said Mr Gan.
Nearly 800,000 individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than 300,000 among them having completed both vaccine doses.
VACCINATION FOR SENIORS
He added that the Government has made “good progress” in vaccinating seniors. As of Mar 23, more than 55 per cent of seniors aged 60 years and above have received their vaccinations or made appointments to do so.
“We encourage seniors who have not yet done so to come forward as soon as possible to register for their vaccinations,” he said, urging seniors who need help booking their appointments to visit any of the People’s Association’s community clubs and centres islandwide.
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In addition, Mr Gan apologised for “any hiccups or inconvenience” to residents during the initial stages, as the Government ironed out some “teething problems”.
On average, the Government administered about 40,000 doses of vaccine per day last week, including second doses, he said.
“If vaccine supplies continue to arrive on schedule, we will have enough vaccines for all Singaporeans and long term residents by the third quarter of this year and will be able to complete our vaccination programme by the end of this year,” he added.
SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS COULD MEAN SUSPENDING VACCINATION PROGRAMME
During the press conference, Mr Gan responded to a question on potential vaccine supply challenges, amid reports of plans for tighter export rules by the European Union (EU).
He said that the Government is "closely monitoring" the development in Europe and the rest of the world and is in "close discussion" with manufacturers and suppliers.
"We remain concerned about the supplies and the continuity of supplies ... but so far we have not seen significant disruption," said Mr Gan.
Although Singapore experienced a "short-term disruption" when vaccine manufacturer Pfizer renovated its Belgium plant, the company has since restarted their plant and supplies to Singapore have been "on time" so far.
Even without EU restrictions, the Government still expects disruptions "from time to time", and supplies today are "tight", he said.
"We keep very little stock, because we do want to roll them out as soon as possible ... but that does also mean that at some point in time if supplies are disrupted, we may need to also suspend our vaccination programme until new supplies arrive," he said.
Watch the full news conference and Q&A session: