386,000 bivalent COVID-19 vaccines given out in Singapore since October; mobile teams to boost elderly sign-ups
Mobile vaccination teams will be deployed to several locations to make it more convenient for the elderly to get vaccinated and boosted.
SINGAPORE: With 386,000 bivalent COVID-19 vaccine doses issued since their introduction in mid-October, the Government hopes to encourage more sign-ups - especially among the elderly - with the rollout of mobile vaccination teams at several locations from Monday (Dec 12), said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
The bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine is being offered to people aged 12 and above from Monday. The other bivalent COVID-19 vaccine currently available in Singapore is from Moderna, which is for people aged 18 and above.
Both vaccines will be available at all mobile vaccination team locations.
MOBILE TEAM LOCATIONS
Speaking at Hong Kah North Community Club (CC) – one of the locations for the mobile vaccination teams deployed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) – Mr Ong said that among the overall population, about five in 10,000 infections end up in the intensive care unit (ICU) or die.
In comparison, there are about 70 deaths or ICU cases per 10,000 infections with no minimum protection, among those who are aged 70 and above as well as not up to date with their vaccinations or lacking minimum protection.
“It’s quite significantly higher. So in the end, this is still about protecting the seniors, making sure they get up-to-date vaccinations,” Mr Ong told reporters.
About nine in 10 seniors aged 60 and above have achieved minimum protection against COVID-19, said MOH earlier this month, adding that six in 10 were up to date with their vaccination.
There are still close to 40,000 eligible seniors who have not yet achieved minimum protection.
The mobile vaccination teams will be deployed at the following locations and corresponding dates:
- Bukit Panjang Zone 3 RC (Dec 12 to 14)
- Chua Chu Kang CC (Jan 10 to 12)
- Hong Kah North CC (Dec 12 to 14)
- Kampong Chai Chee CC (Jan 9 to 11)
- Leng Kee CC (Dec 12 to 14)
- Potong Pasir Zone 3 RC (Dec 16 to 18)
- Teck Ghee CC (Dec 13 to 15)
- Toa Payoh Central CC (Jan 10 to 12)
The public can also visit gowhere.gov.sg for the deployment schedule of the mobile vaccination teams.
How can I get a bivalent vaccine dose?
If you’re aged 50 and above, you may walk into any Joint Testing and Vaccination Centre (JTVC), including mobile vaccination team locations, to receive your bivalent vaccine dose.
If you’re aged 12 to 49 years old, you will be invited to receive your bivalent vaccine dose when eligible.
An SMS with a personalised booking link will be sent to the mobile number you registered for previous COVID-19 vaccinations.
The JTVC locations are:
- Ang Mo Kio (former Ang Mo Kio Institute of Technical Education)
- Bukit Merah (former Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board Centre)
- Commonwealth (former Ministry of Education Heritage Centre)
- Jurong East (former Shuqun Secondary School)
- Jurong West (former Hong Kah Secondary School)
- Kaki Bukit (former Bedok North Secondary School)
- Pasir Ris (former Siglap Secondary School)
- Sengkang (former preschool)
- Woodlands (former Woodlands Bus Interchange)
- Yishun (former Yishun Bus Interchange)
SENIORS GETTING THEIR 4TH JAB
More than 10,000 bivalent doses are given out each day.
Mr Neo Joo Yong, 70, was in line at Hong Kah North CC by himself on Monday. He walked from his home nearby to get his fourth dose — the Moderna bivalent vaccine — around 10am.
He previously wanted to get the jab in Jurong, and was glad to find out there was a mobile vaccination team located nearer to him.
Mr Neo, whose first three jabs were also under Moderna, told CNA he got his last dose in January.
He still hasn’t gotten COVID-19 and in his household, only his son has caught the virus, he said.
Asked how he was able to keep himself free from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, Mr Neo laughed and said in Mandarin, “I’m often at home. I only go out to exercise in the morning, but even then, I don’t wear a mask.”
He added that he “rarely falls sick”, and didn’t experience any side effects from his previous three jabs, except for a sore spot on the arm that went away "after awhile”.
Also at Hong Kah North CC getting her fourth jab alone was 66-year-old Mdm Ling Geck Hiok.
The retiree was similarly pleased to find a mobile vaccination team near her home, as she would otherwise have to make plans to head to another location in Taman Jurong. The latter, she had heard, was “a bit far” and “a bit crowded”.
Mdm Ling and her husband came down with COVID-19 for the first time last month, after their grandchild picked up the virus in school, but she noted that the experience was just “a bit uncomfortable”.
“Maybe my body is a bit healthier. I rarely fall sick. Even the injections are only a little sore; by tomorrow the soreness will be gone,” she told CNA in Mandarin.
SINGAPORE SITUATION “CALM AND STABLE”
Having already gone through three COVID-19 waves this year, Singapore’s “resilience is high”, said Mr Ong.
But he noted that China’s reopening meant there was “a bit of uncertainty”.
“This (is) bound to drive up infections, which we’re not so worried (about), because our resilience is high and we've gone through already three waves this year. But the question is, with 1.3 billion people mostly uninfected and the disease starts to spread, we are bound to get mutations,” Mr Ong said.
“What we worry more (about) is what kind of mutations may come out of China. So that’s what we’re watching.”
Nonetheless, Singapore’s situation at the moment is “calm and stable”, the health minister reiterated.
“Cases are on the low side. Obviously, now coming out the XBB (variant) wave, hospitals are still busy, A&E (accident and emergency departments) especially, but the volume of patients is also lower now. So there's a sigh of relief. Everything in general is calm."
It is during this "lull period when things are calm” that senior citizens should get their updated vaccinations, Mr Ong advised.
Editor's note: This article has been updated following a clarification by the Ministry of Health, which said that the information about the number of deaths per 10,000 infections also includes ICU cases and refers to those with no minimum protection.