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More than 400,000 students aged 12 and above to receive COVID-19 vaccination invite from Jun 1

More than 400,000 students aged 12 and above to receive COVID-19 vaccination invite from Jun 1

Students wearing protective face masks attend a class at Yio Chu Kang Secondary School. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: More than 400,000 students aged 12 and above will be invited to register for the COVID-19 vaccine from Jun 1, announced Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing on Monday (May 31). 

This comes after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved by the Health Sciences Authority for those aged 12 to 15 earlier this month. 

Bookings will open on Jun 1, with the earliest slots for vaccination available from Jun 3, said Mr Chan. 

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The exercise will start with graduating cohorts from secondary schools and at the pre-university levels, in particular, students sitting for the GCE N-, O- or A-Level examinations later this year, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a separate press release. 

“These students will be the first to receive their invitations to be vaccinated so that they can have greater flexibility in scheduling their vaccination appointments in view of their upcoming national examinations,” the press release read. 

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Over the next two weeks, the remaining full-time students in schools and institutes of higher learning will receive their invitations to register for the vaccine, said the Education Ministry. 

This includes privately-funded schools, madrasahs and special education schools, said MOE in the press release. Privately-funded schools comprise Anglo-Chinese School (International), St. Joseph's Institution International High School and Hwa Chong International School. 

Students below 18 will only be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, while those aged 18 and above can opt for either vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, said the Education Ministry. 

For both vaccines, the interval between the first and second dose will be six to eight weeks, said MOE in a briefing earlier on Monday. 

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Eligible students aged 18 and above as well as parents of children below 18 will progressively receive SMSes with a unique registration link, said the ministry. 

Parents of students in graduating cohorts who do not receive the SMS by Jun 3 should contact their children’s school for assistance. 

“Schools will also be reaching out to parents of students in mainstream primary and secondary schools separately with additional details on their vaccinations. In general, students who are in schools and the IHLs should receive their SMSes by the end of the second week of June,” the factsheet read. 

SMS invites will only be sent to parents or guardians of children who are 12 years old as of Jun 1. Those whose 12th birthday falls after Jun 1 will be invited for vaccination at a later date, said MOE.

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Parental or guardian consent is required for students below 18, as part of the booking process for the vaccination slots through the National Appointment System, said the ministry. Consent given via the system will be collected once and will apply for both doses of the vaccine. 

Parents or guardians of students aged 13 and above do not need to accompany the child to the vaccination centre while children who are 12 years old and all students in special education schools must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

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Eligible students can get vaccinated at community vaccination centres. There will also be four dedicated MOE vaccination centres set up at Raffles City Convention Centre, ITE College Central, ITE College East and ITE College West, said MOE. 

ITE will arrange for their students to take their vaccinations on campus to make use of the dedicated capacity, the ministry added. 

Each ITE centre can take up to 1,600 vaccination slots per day, "comparable" to community vaccination centres, while Raffles Convention Centre can take up to 2,000 slots per day, said MOE in a briefing earlier on Monday. 

The ministry will also deploy a mobile vaccination team to special education schools to carry out the vaccinations for all eligible special education students, to “facilitate access” for students who might find it challenging to visit a vaccination centre, it said. 

The vaccination exercise for students is expected to be completed by August, said MOE at the briefing earlier on Monday. 

“All medically eligible individuals are encouraged to consider getting vaccinated when the vaccination is offered to them. And we would like to thank all parents for working closely with our educators and schools to keep our children safe,” said Mr Chan. 

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Source: CNA/hw(ta)

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