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COVID-19 vaccination for people aged 60 to 69 brought forward, invitations to go out in 'next few days': MOH

COVID-19 vaccination for people aged 60 to 69 brought forward, invitations to go out in 'next few days': MOH

COVID-19 vaccination centre at Jalan Besar Community Club, Feb 19, 2021. (Photo: Cheryl Goh)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will bring forward COVID-19 vaccinations for people aged 60 to 69, with those in this age group to receive letters inviting them to register their appointments in the next few days, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (Mar 8).

MOH had announced last month that people in this age group would start their vaccinations from around the end of March.

"As more vaccine supplies have arrived, we are able to bring forward the vaccination for seniors aged 60 to 69 years," said the ministry.

"All seniors in this age group will receive their invitation letters within the next few days.

"Each letter will have a web link which can be used to register for vaccination, after which an SMS with a unique booking link will be sent to the senior's mobile phone for them to book a vaccination appointment," said MOH.

READ: Commentary: This 71-year-old wants you to get a COVID-19 vaccine once you can. Here’s why

They can also book their appointments at any community centre or community club.

More than 55,000 seniors have received their first dose of the vaccine since vaccinations for those aged 70 and above started on Feb 22, said MOH.

Another 96,000 seniors have made appointments to receive their first dose in the next few weeks.

"Invitation letters have already been sent to all seniors aged 70 years and above, and we are making steady progress in vaccinating this group," said MOH.

About 379,000 people in Singapore have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday, said the ministry.

Of these, more than 217,000 have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regime, added MOH.

Singapore has administered more than 596,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far.

VACCINES FOR MORE ESSENTIAL WORKERS IN CRITICAL FUNCTIONS 

As more vaccine stocks arrive, MOH said vaccinations will be offered to more workers involved in other critical functions, such as postmen and delivery staff members, news reporters, bank employees in critical banking and financial systems operations. 

The ministry noted that it has progressively vaccinated workers in essential services such as security agencies, those involved in the provision of utilities such as water, energy and telecommunications services, as well as workers ensuring the supply of essential food and household items.

READ: Singapore to vaccinate migrant workers against COVID-19, starting with 10,000 dormitory residents

Apart from vaccinating healthcare workers as a priority, MOH noted that the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination had also recommended prioritising frontline workers who are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection. 

These include people in the aviation and maritime sectors, "as well as specific groups who are of critical importance to the functioning of Singapore".

"We will thus continue to extend our vaccination programme progressively to other higher-risk groups, as well as essential frontline workers of critical importance to Singapore, including those who could pose risks to our vulnerable populations and the community at large if they are infected," said MOH.

LISTEN: COVID-19 vaccines rolled out at warp speed – safety, side effects and the big logistical challenges

VACCINATIONS TO START FOR EDUCATORS, SCHOOL STAFF

The ministry also announced that vaccinations will be extended to people who have "multiple touchpoints with many members of our community".

These include people who work in hawker centres and markets, such as stallholders and stall assistants, as well as people who serve in the food delivery industry.

READ: COVID-19 vaccination exercise begins for more than 50,000 taxi, private-hire drivers

MOH will also start vaccinations for educators and teaching staff members who come into prolonged contact with children and youth, said the ministry.

"We will start with those working in pre-schools, national schools, Institute of Technical Education (colleges) and polytechnics, and will progressively extend to those working in other education institutions," said MOH.

READ: Singapore discussing COVID-19 vaccine certification with other countries, says PM Lee

It added: "As the current vaccines are not yet certified for those below the age of 16 years, the vaccination for educators and adult staff will help to protect them and their students, and ensure that our schools and education institutions remain safe places for learning."

Those eligible for the vaccine will be informed of the vaccination schedule by the relevant government agencies and will receive a personalised SMS from MOH notifying them to book their vaccination appointments.

COVID-19 vaccination will be available at all vaccination centres, all polyclinics and selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics.

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Source: CNA/dv(ta)

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