Forum: Clinics should not charge for special-access Covid-19 jabs

I welcome the decision by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to allow access to other Covid-19 vaccines under the Special Access Route to widen the overall vaccination coverage (MOH to allow special access to other vaccines, June 1).

This will benefit the 34,000 people who are not able to take the mRNA vaccines because of medical reasons.

MOH has said that it will select around 20 private medical centres across Singapore to be licensed providers of the Sinovac vaccine under the Special Access Route.

About 200,000 doses will be released for free to the providers, which will be allowed to charge a fee to cover their costs.

MOH said the Government will reimburse this fee to the 34,000 people who were allergic to or previously rejected from taking mRNA vaccines if they decide to opt for the Sinovac jab.

Singaporeans have gone through this pandemic stoically for almost 1.5 years.

Many would have suffered more - financially or mentally - without the intervention of and assistance from the Government and community.

I strongly urge the private clinics not to impose any fee for this service.

Instead, the clinics could encourage the patients to donate a small fee to help anyone who has serious adverse effects after vaccination, as the Special Access Route vaccines are not covered by the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme.

Any private or charitable organisation could also contribute to this financial assistance programme by offering to match the donations dollar-for-dollar.

Now is the time for the private sector to do its part to help Singaporeans by showing kindness and magnanimity.

Having more people vaccinated means we can reach herd immunity sooner, and the economy can turn around faster.

Foo Sing Kheng