Seniors to get COVID-19 vaccines from 27 January, says Gan Kim Yong

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Health Minister Gan Kim Yong receives his first dose of  COVID-19 vaccination at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information)
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccination at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital on 13 January 2021. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information)

SINGAPORE — Seniors in the community in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccines from next Wednesday under pilots, before vaccination centres are set up islandwide for other seniors from mid-February.

Speaking at a virtual press conference on Friday (22 January), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that more than 60,000 people have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of Friday, including those working in healthcare, nursing homes, frontline and essential services, and seniors in nursing homes.

Additionally, 39 staff at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) have also received their second dose of the vaccine; they will have built up maximum protection against COVID-19 in two weeks’ time.

About 5,000 to 10,000 seniors in each of the two precincts will be invited to take part in the pilots, Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce tackling the pandemic, said.

Authorities will begin to roll out the vaccination to other precincts and areas two weeks after the pilots, he added.

“While we have made steady progress on the vaccination front, we must remember that the journey is far from over. Vaccination is but one of a whole suite of measures that must work hand in hand to keep transmissions low,” said Gan.

“The key to keeping one another safe lies in each one of us. If we all do our part to adhere strictly to the safe management measures and be socially responsible, we can turn the tide of the rising community cases without having to impose drastic measures. So let us keep up our fight and remain vigilant especially over the coming festive Chinese New Year period,” he added.

Seniors will receive personalised letters inviting them to make an appointment for their vaccinations. The appointments can be made online, or in-person at selected community centres near their homes.

Community volunteers from the People’s Association and Silver Generation Ambassadors will also be doing door-to-door to answer queries and help seniors book an appointment, said Gan, who received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccination on 13 January.

And more vaccination centres will also be progressively set up islandwide over the next few weeks.

At the press conference, Gan also said one scheduled Pfizer-BioNTech shipment has been delayed, and that there may be other delays to the shipments of vaccines due to Pfizer’s upgrading of its European manufacturing plant.

“We will continue to monitor our supplies closely to meet our target of vaccinating all Singaporeans and long-term residents in Singapore by the end of this year. But we will need to calibrate our roll out in tandem with our supplies,” he added.

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