SINGAPORE: More than 150,000 teachers and other workers in the education sector will be offered COVID-19 vaccinations from Wednesday (Mar 10).
The exercise is in line with the Ministry of Health's (MOH) efforts to extend vaccination to workers who offer essential services, said the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).
"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," they said in a joint news release.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use only in individuals aged 16 and above. Meanwhile, the Moderna vaccine is only approved for use in individuals aged 18 years and older.
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The vaccination exercise for the education sector will cover all staff members in the following educational institutions:
- Pre-schools licensed by ECDA, MOE kindergartens and foreign system kindergartens registered by MOE.
- Early intervention centres and programmes, funded by or registered with ECDA for children with developmental needs, aged six and younger.
- Primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges and Millennia Institute.
- Special education schools, Institute of Technical Education and polytechnics.
- Private schools registered with MOE with full-time students below 18 years old.
- Private education institutions, including international schools, with full-time students below 18 years old.
The vaccination exercise will include individuals who work in these institutions and come into regular contact with students.
These include administrative staff members, adjunct staff members, school-based and community-based student care centre workers, special student care centre workers and canteen or bookshop vendors.
The authorities said they will work with the institutions to identify individuals to be included in the exercise.
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Those identified will progressively receive SMSes with a unique link for them to book their appointments at any of the vaccination centres, 20 polyclinics or public health preparedness clinics operating as vaccination sites.
"While COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory, we strongly encourage all medically eligible individuals to get vaccinated," said the authorities.
"This is our way of protecting not just those working in the education sector but also our children and students who are not yet medically eligible for vaccination."
Singapore began its COVID-19 vaccination exercise on Dec 30, with healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases the first to get the shots.
About 379,000 people in Singapore have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday, according to MOH. Of these, more than 217,000 have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regime.