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About 6,900 appeals made by Singapore residents for early COVID-19 vaccination: MOH

About 6,900 appeals made by Singapore residents for early COVID-19 vaccination: MOH

A person receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre on Jan 27, 2021. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has received about 6,900 appeals from Singapore residents who wish to receive early COVID-19 vaccination.

Most of the appeals cited travelling overseas for work, study and other purposes, said MOH on Monday (Mar 22) in response to CNA’s queries.

The ministry had announced last week that while its focus is to vaccinate the elderly and other priority groups, it will consider allowing Singapore citizens and permanent residents with “very exceptional circumstances” to receive their vaccination earlier as more vaccine supplies arrive. 

These include people who have an “urgent need” to travel overseas to take up or complete a formal education or vocational programme, or to be based overseas for work, and where remote learning or working is not an option.

READ: 7 new COVID-19 vaccination centres to be set up, some offering Moderna shots

Those who wish to travel overseas to visit or care for an immediate family member who is critically ill, or to seek “medically necessary treatment that cannot be reasonably received in Singapore”, will also be considered for early vaccination.

MOH said on Monday that it will evaluate the requests “based on the reason and urgency for the appeals”.

“We would like to seek Singaporeans’ patience and understanding that we will have to prioritise those who need vaccination more urgently, such as those travelling in the next two months in the first instance,” it added.

READ: HSA starts review of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

MOH previously said that people who plan to appeal for early vaccination should cater for the time needed to complete the full course. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently being administered in Singapore require two doses three to four weeks apart. 

The vaccines will be “fully effective” a further two weeks after the second dose, the ministry added.

People should aim to complete their appeal application about eight weeks in advance, and those successful will be notified via email.

MOH also said it has received four completed applications for a financial assistance programme for people who experience serious side effects that are assessed to be related to COVID-19 vaccines administered in Singapore.

Applications opened on Mar 17 for the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme for COVID-19 vaccination (VIFAP).

The four applications will be reviewed for their eligibility, said MOH, adding that 13 other applications which are pending necessary additional information were also received.

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Source: CNA/gs(ac)

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