140,000 seniors invited to get vaccine booster jabs

About 140,000 seniors have been invited to fix an appointment to get Covid-19 vaccine booster shots from yesterday, while those in nursing homes will start getting their shots from today.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said SMS invites will be sent over the next few days to the seniors to make appointments at vaccination centres, polyclinics or participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics.

For elderly folk who are at home and immobile, home vaccination teams have been activated, he said, and will be visiting homes to give jabs. Those in nursing homes will get their booster shots from mobile vaccination teams.

Mr Ong also said two new community care facilities with a total capacity of 1,000 beds will be set up by the end of this month.

The Straits Times has asked MOH for more details.

More beds, Mr Ong said, are also being added in other facilities.

He said: "From today, we are stepping up another 300 beds to 1,300 isolation beds for Covid-19 cases in the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and hospitals."

General practitioners and polyclinics should be the first port of call for less urgent medical problems, which will go a long way to help emergency departments prioritise treatments for serious cases.

He also said seniors, regardless of vaccination status, should go out less often and cut back on social activities and meeting friends.

Mr Ong added that home recovery is now the default for infected individuals who are fully vaccinated, below 50, healthy and do not live with vulnerable persons.

Details of the new care model were announced by the Health Ministry earlier yesterday.

"Home recovery is a crucial change in practice to ensure that hospital beds go to those who need them most," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2021, with the headline '140,000 seniors invited to get vaccine booster jabs'. Subscribe