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SINGAPORE — As of Wednesday (24 March), Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term residents aged 45 to 59 can begin registering online for their COVID-19 vaccinations.
The move was announced by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong during a COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce press conference, the first in two months. Up till now, the Singaporean government's focus has been on vaccinating the country's seniors and certain frontline workers.
Personalised letters will no longer be sent to this group of potential vaccine registrants given that they are younger and more digitally savvy – instead, a two-step process will be adopted.
First, all those who are eligible for the vaccine can register directly at vaccine.gov.sg. Second, the registrants will receive a short message service (SMS) with a personalised web link that will enable them to book their vaccination appointments online.
These SMSes will be sent as soon as there are vaccination slots available for booking.
"A key factor in how fast we vaccinate our population is the supply of vaccines. We will continue to monitor our supplies. Expect global supplies to remain tight and supply chains may be disrupted from time to time, which will affect our pace of vaccination," said Gan, who is also the taskforce co-chair.
He encouraged everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated when their turn comes, "to protect ourselves and fellow Singaporeans from infection".
From 24 April, those who have completed their full vaccination regimen and have had two weeks since their last dose to develop sufficient protection will be allowed to skip pre-event COVID-19 testing at events that require it.
Education Minister and taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong said that broader guidelines would be made for vaccinated persons, apart from exempting them from pre-event testing procedures.
"The evidence around the world shows that the vaccination can help not just to protect yourself, but also reduce transmission risk, so we will look at what the guidelines are for vaccinated persons with regard to social activities, interactions as well as for travel," said Wong.
"It's still work in progress, we are not able to share anything at this present time, but clearly the direction is towards more flexibilities for those who are vaccinated."
On the progress of Singapore's vaccination rollout, Gan said that as of Tuesday, around 1,109,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the country. Over 799,000 people have received at least one dose, out of whom around 310,000 have received their second doses and completed their full vaccination regimen.
As of Tuesday, more than 55 per cent of those 60 years and above have received their vaccinations or made appointments to do so.
On average, Singapore administers around 40,000 doses a day last week, including second doses, Gan said.
"If vaccine supplies continue to arrive on the schedule, we will have enough vaccines for all Singaporeans and long-term residents by the third quarter of this year, and we will be able to complete our vaccination programme by the end of this year," he added.
Singapore currently has 31 vaccination centres in operation, on top of the 20 polyclinics and 22 Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) private clinics. Authorities expect to have a total of 40 vaccination centres up and running by mid-April.
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