Forum: Vaccination, not ICU beds, key to living with disease

In her letter, "Capacity of Singapore's ICU facilities has to be addressed" (July 27), Dr Jaclyn Toh felt that the true limiting factor of Singapore's calibrated opening is our ICU capacity, which she felt was not adequate.

Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, Singapore has set aside dedicated intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19 patients.

We are able to ramp up ICU capacity to 1,000 beds, having made the necessary room conversions, stockpiled specialised equipment and medications, and trained medical professionals on ICU protocols.

Right now, we have opened up 70 ICU beds, which is a small proportion of our full potential capacity, as the majority of the Covid-19 cases in Singapore have been mild.

A thousand ICU beds is part of our emergency plan, but it is not our planned usage.

In fact, we are trying our best not to use the capacity, because if we do, it will mean that the disease is spreading uncontrollably and causing many cases of severe illnesses.

Instead, we use vaccination to mitigate the severity of the disease, and reduce the need for hospitalisation and intensive care.

Vaccination, not ICU provision, is the key to living with Covid-19.

Lee Heow Yong (Dr)


Hospital Services Division

Ministry of Health

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