20 SAF teams help out with home vaccination
Three operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) formed a protective ring around 93-year-old Madam Lai as one of them, Corporal (NS) Edwin Chia, gave her the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in her home.
Madam Lai's son, Mr Lim, 76, said he and his mother wanted to be known only by their surnames.
First Sergeant (NS) Razali Ishak, 39, held her hand, while Captain (NS) (Dr) Shane Alexander Abucewicz-Tan, 32, had a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Almost done, almost done," the NSman said reassuringly as Cpl Chia, 35, administered the shot.
He remained alert throughout, in case Madam Lai jerked from the needle prick as she cannot hear well.
The three NSmen formed one of 20 home vaccination teams activated by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) from Tuesday to Thursday last week.
Made up of medical officers and combat medics from the 3rd Combat Support Hospital (3 CSH) on in-camp training, the 20 teams had nearly 480 home vaccination appointments over the three days, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Major (NS) (Dr) Mizan Marican, commanding officer of 3 CSH, said: "The Government is putting its resources into increasing the percentage of the vaccinated population."
The SAF's involvement started on Aug 30 with four teams. Last week, there were 20 teams comprising NSmen.
"To increase the speed of vaccination, we have been asked to contribute to the home vaccination efforts," said Maj (Dr) Mizan, 41.
MOH had 33 teams in total early this month, including the first four teams from the SAF. The ministry said it had 49 teams last week, including the 20 from SAF, "effectively (reducing) the waiting times... to less than four weeks".
It will advise the SAF if its assistance is still needed.
MOH is aiming to complete all new home vaccination appointments by the end of this month. Some of the home vaccination teams are now giving booster shots.
Dr Yan Shi Yuan, 40, director of home care provider Edgedale Medical Clinic, said some of his teams started giving booster shots to nursing home residents from last week. Edgedale has 10 teams.
Said MOH: "The home vaccination teams will administer booster shots to immobile clients who are immunocompromised, or were not previously housebound. As long as there is a demand from the public, MOH will continue to work with the Agency for Integrated Care to provide home vaccination services."