More get jabs after news of travel lanes, dine-in curbs

With diabetes and other maladies, 56-year-old Josle Johari had been holding off getting vaccinated against Covid-19 because he was worried about side effects.

But after the announcement last Saturday that unvaccinated individuals would not be able to dine in anywhere, the retired security officer decided to speak to his doctor.

"I was worried that taking the shot will lead to side effects, but my family and friends who are vaccinated encouraged me. I also like sitting at hawker centres for lunch but the new rules mean I can't," said Mr Josle.

Yesterday, he turned up at Taman Jurong Community Club to receive his first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Clinics and private healthcare providers say they have noticed more people coming forward to get their jabs since last Saturday. That was when it was announced that unvaccinated people would soon be banned from dining in at hawker centres and coffee shops, or entering malls, followed an exponential rise in community cases.

The authorities also rolled out the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) plan, which would allow vaccinated Singaporeans to travel to 11 countries and return without quarantine.

Major private healthcare providers running vaccination centres told ST that a majority of those receiving their jabs since the announcement were there for the booster shots.

Raffles Medical Group, which operates 12 vaccination centres here, said there has been an overall 20 per cent increase in those getting booster shots since the weekend.

At Fullerton Health, it was a 30 per cent increase in appointments across the group's nine centres. Of this, about 70 per cent to 80 per cent were there for booster shots.

Healthway Medical Group, which operates four centres, also saw a "significant increase" in appointments for booster shots.

Ms Chan Wei Ling, chief executive of Thomson Medical's specialist centres, said there has been an increase in appointments and walk-ins for the vaccines across its three centres.

It was also announced last Saturday that healthcare workers, front-line workers and those aged 30 and above would be invited to take booster shots.

At the Tenteram Clinic in Outram, all 120 vaccination appointments have been fully booked for the rest of the week.

Dr Dale Lim, a family physician there, said there has been about a 30 per cent rise in patients coming in to get their shots since last Saturday, with most there for their booster shots.

Dr Aziz Noordin, a family physician at Tampines Family Medicine Clinic, said there has been about a 5 per cent to 10 per cent increase in inquiries about booster shots since last Saturday.

Cabby Law Poh Khoon, 67, who received his booster shot at Kebun Baru Community Club yesterday, said he did so for his safety: "We taxi drivers get all sorts of customers and we don't know who is infected, so the vaccines give us more protection."