Over 155,000 people in Singapore have received first dose of vaccine, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Over 155,000 people in Singapore have received first dose of vaccine

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All 20 polyclinics have started offering vaccinations

More than 155,000 people have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as at Sunday, Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary told Parliament yesterday.

He said Singapore will have the capacity and capability to have its population vaccinated by the third quarter of this year, although it might take until the end of the year to do so.

Responding to questions from several MPs, Dr Janil also said there is currently no evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine - the only Covid-19 shot Singapore has authorised so far - contributes to an increased risk of death among the elderly.

"Thus, we continue to offer Covid-19 vaccination for seniors," he told the House. "It is important to vaccinate and protect seniors, as Covid-19 infection in the elderly has been observed to result in severe or fatal illness."

More vaccination centres will be set up in places with a large population, along public transport routes, or in locations that meet both criteria, Dr Janil said. The plan is for each of these centres to be able to administer an estimated 2,000 jabs daily, on average.

Starting yesterday, all 20 polyclinics in Singapore began offering Covid-19 vaccination. There are also mobile vaccination teams for seniors with mobility issues, Dr Janil said.

On vaccine safety for seniors, he said the Health Ministry, Health Sciences Authority and Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination have been monitoring international reports.

The Norwegian health authorities and the World Health Organisation's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety have found no evidence that the Pfizer vaccine contributes to an increased risk of death in the elderly, he noted.

"Nevertheless, the ministry has reiterated to vaccination providers that doctors should review the medical history of seniors carefully to confirm that they are indeed suitable for vaccination, and that they should be monitored closely in the immediate period after a vaccination," he said.

  • Allergic reaction

Dr Janil told the House that among those who have been vaccinated so far, there were four reported cases of anaphylaxis, the rapid onset of severe allergic reactions. They were all in their 20s and 30s, and developed multiple symptoms such as rash, breathlessness, lip swelling, throat tightness and giddiness.

"All have recovered from the episode. One was under observation for a few hours, while the others were discharged from the hospital after a day's observation or treatment. None needed ICU support," he said.

  • Migrant workers

Meanwhile, Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said in Parliament that migrant workers in dormitories will be vaccinated by the end of this year - the same timeline as for the rest of Singapore.

The workers - among the priority groups for vaccination - will be vaccinated based on the risk level of the dorms they reside in, with those at higher risk to go first, said Dr Tan.

Dr Tan said the communal living and working conditions of migrant workers in dorms put them at higher risk of infection and the formation of large clusters.