Singapore

Covid-19 vaccination centres to be opened soon

People will also be able to get vaccine at polyclinics and GP clinics

Covid-19 vaccination centres that allow a large number of people to be vaccinated daily will be ready soon, and shots will be given at polyclinics and general practitioner clinics, said the country's chief health scientist, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan.

There will also be roving teams to vaccinate certain groups, such as those in nursing homes.

Prof Tan was speaking after taking his vaccine shot yesterday.

Allowing people to get vaccinated at polyclinics, public health preparedness clinics and GP clinics will make the experience a more convenient and comfortable one for Singaporeans, especially for the elderly, who may be more familiar with these places, he said.

Prof Tan was among close to 120 healthcare workers across the National University Health System (NUHS) who received their Covid-19 vaccinations yesterday.

The first to take the jab at the National University Hospital was Associate Professor Benjamin Ong, the chair of the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination.

On those who have already been vaccinated, Prof Ong said: "Some of the individuals in the first batch are on my expert committee... I managed to chat with the very first woman who received the vaccine... and they are all fine.

"I hope that is reassuring for other people who are getting vaccinated."

Vaccinations kicked off elsewhere yesterday as part of Singapore's nationwide drive, which began on Dec 30 last year.

Eighty Home Team officers involved in front-line healthcare operations were the first in the Ministry of Home Affairs to receive their jabs. A total of 1,050 officers will be progressively vaccinated in the coming weeks, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Fifty employees from Ren Ci's Bukit Batok nursing home were also among the first eldercare workers to get vaccinated.

Urging people not to avoid getting the second dose if they experience minor side effects such as pain and fever after the first, Prof Tan stressed: "The system will be there to remind people to turn up to get a second dose. It is very important for everyone to understand that full protection only takes place if you have two doses, and not just one."

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine - the only one approved here to date - requires two injections, given 21 days apart.

Prof Tan yesterday also stressed the importance of education and information sharing as well as addressing some of the concerns which people may have.

"And so we have a very active outreach programme to address these different issues," he added.

Currently, the data from the Pfizer vaccine has shown that protection can last for about three months. But Prof Tan expects immunity to last longer than that as more becomes known.

There have also been concerns over how some people administering the vaccinations here are not wearing gloves.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no need to wear gloves but the procedure requires them to have cleaned their hands with an alcohol-based waterless antiseptic hand rub or to have washed them with soap and water before giving the jab.

coronavirus