Union, LTA discussing need for Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for bus drivers

Talks over the possible need for public transport workers to get booster shots come amid a surge in cases linked to bus interchanges. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Talks are on to assess the need for bus drivers to be given booster shots, with most of them having taken their vaccination in the first quarter of the year, said labour MP Melvin Yong on Wednesday (Sept 22).

In a Facebook post, he said that the high vaccination rate among bus workers had possibly prevented a potentially bigger outbreak.

The talks between the National Transport Workers' Union and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) over the possible need for front-line public transport workers to get booster shots come amid a surge in cases linked to eight bus interchanges.

The biggest cluster is linked to Toa Payoh Bus Interchange, which was first announced on Aug 26 and had 254 cases as at Monday.

Mr Yong, who met some bus drivers at Boon Lay Bus Interchange who had fully recovered and returned for duty this week, said that the manpower situation at the interchanges is improving.

He said this has been made possible by strict adherence to heightened safe distancing measures and prompt ring-fencing of new infections.

Mr Yong said: "Through our close tripartite efforts, we were able to detect and isolate new infections early through regular and extensive testing at the workplace."

He said in his post that the bus drivers he spoke to told him they had mild or no symptoms.

Commuters had faced longer wait times for some bus services due to the bus interchange clusters. Go-Ahead Singapore suspended five services on Sept 15.

Mr Yong said the bus drivers told him that commuters were understanding and appreciative despite the longer wait times.

He added: "Public support for our bus workers is crucial and I would like to thank everyone for your kindness and patience during this challenging time."

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