SINGAPORE - A bigger push will be made to encourage more seniors to get vaccinated, as they remain the most vulnerable to Covid-19, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Wednesday (July 7).
He pointed to how, in other countries with higher vaccination rates that have opened up, most of those who have suffered severe illness from Covid-19 are still the elderly.
"What we really need to do is to get more of our seniors vaccinated," he said during a virtual press conference by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19.
"If you compare across ages, those above 70 have the lowest first dose and booking rates. It really should be the other way around."
For seniors above 70, 71 per cent of them have had at least one dose of the vaccine, or have booked an appointment, he said.
For those aged 60 to 69, the figure is 85 per cent. For 50 to 59 as well as 40 to 49, it is 86 per cent, he said.
For those aged 30 to 39, the figure is 78 per cent. For 20 to 29, it is 80 per cent, and 80 per cent for those aged 12 to 19.
Mr Ong, co-chair of the task force, said that in countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and Israel which have opened up, infections have also gone up among young people.
This is because they are out and about and less vaccinated, he said. "But hospitalisation and severe illnesses, quite stable, but mostly among the old still."
He said: "It's not a matter of the elderly saying that 'I don't go out therefore I'm safe'.
"It's not that at all, because these days when we look at our infections and our cases, many of our infections have actually occurred at home, so it's not really a matter of not going out, when society opens up, your family members go out and can bring the virus back home."
The authorities will be making a bigger push to reach out to seniors, "knocking on their doors if necessary", he said.
"This is the work we need to do, so any one of us, if we know of an elderly person, a neighbour or a relative, who is still hesitating, please help reach out to them and persuade them."