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All polyclinics to offer COVID-19 vaccination from Feb 1

All polyclinics to offer COVID-19 vaccination from Feb 1

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre on Jan 27, 2021. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: All 20 polyclinics in Singapore will offer COVID-19 vaccinations from Monday (Feb 1), said the Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary in Parliament.

Dr Puthucheary was giving an update on Singapore's vaccination programme in response to questions from a dozen Members of Parliament on the issue on Monday. 

He said that as of Sunday, more than 155,000 people have taken their first dose of the vaccine.

READ: 4 out of 155,000 people vaccinated had severe allergic reactions, all have recovered

"More vaccination centres will be set up over the next few weeks to ensure that everyone can conveniently receive their vaccinations," he said.

The authorities are planning to set up about 40 vaccination centres and each will be able to vaccinate about 2,000 people a day on average, Dr Puthucheary said. 

They will be located in densely populated areas and/or along public transport routes.

Besides the vaccination centres and polyclinics, selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) are also vaccination sites.

"The safety and well-being of Singaporeans remain our top priorities for the vaccination programme. Only vaccines that meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness will be used for our population," he said.

"LOW WASTAGE RATES"

Dr Puthucheary also answered a supplementary question from MP Lim Wee Kiat (PAP-Sembawang) on whether any doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been wasted due to logistical issues and people not turning up for their appointment.

The vaccines need to be deep frozen and once thawed, can be stored in a fridge for up to five days or need to be injected within a few hours.

Dr Puthucheary said that thus far, "wastage rates are low" but he did not have a specific number.

He explained that while each vial of the vaccine contains five doses, there is usually a little more inside.

"On average, we are getting more than five doses per vial because of the way which we've centrally controlled the thawing, distribution as well as the training for the people doing the vaccination," he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Tan See Leng also shared that the Manpower Ministry is working out the schedule and details of vaccinating migrant workers with the Ministry of Health, depending on the delivery schedule for vaccines.  

"I can share that the vaccination effort will be accompanied by a comprehensive communication campaign to inform migrant workers of the safety and benefits of the vaccine," said Dr Tan, who is also Second Minister for Manpower and for Trade and Industry.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article said that the thawed Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can last 30 days in a fridge. That is incorrect. It can last up to five days at refrigerated conditions of 2 to 8 degree Celsius. We apologise for the error. 

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Source: CNA/hm(ta)

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