All 1,400 Sembmarine workers in Westlite Jalan Tukang dorm vaccinated against Covid-19, says firm

There are a total of 2,800 residents in the 3,420-bed dormitory in Jurong.
There are a total of 2,800 residents in the 3,420-bed dormitory in Jurong.PHOTO: MOM

SINGAPORE - All 1,400 Sembcorp Marine workers residing at Westlite Jalan Tukang dormitory were vaccinated against Covid-19, and about 43 per cent of them have had their vaccination status records updated in the National Immunisation Registry (NIR) as at Saturday (Oct 16), the company said.

There are 2,800 residents in the 3,420-bed dormitory in Jurong.

The marine and offshore engineering group said its workers were vaccinated in their home country before arriving in Singapore. 

“Sembcorp Marine would like to state that, as its 1,400 workers at Tukang Dorm are recent arrivals, their vaccination verification process is ongoing,” the company added.

The dormitory was the scene of a confrontation between workers and management on Wednesday, which led to the riot police being called in.

The workers there had complained about poor hygiene and food, and long delays in transporting workers with Covid-19 to recovery and healthcare facilities.

The incident came amid a spike in cases there which saw an estimated 500 residents reportedly testing positive for the virus.

Sembcorp Marine said it is actively engaging its workforce to explain to them Singapore’s vaccination registration process and public health protocols, adding that it “remains fully committed to looking after the health, safety and living environment of its workforce”.

In a separate statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reminded employers to get the vaccination status of their workers verified in a timely manner.

"As at Oct 16, 55 per cent of the migrant workers residing in Westlite Jalan Tukang dormitory have verified their vaccination status, or have been vaccinated," said MOM.

It said a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty, Moderna or World Health Organisation Emergency Use Listing (EUL) Procedure vaccines.

Other vaccines may come under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR), which the Health Sciences Authority introduced to facilitate early access to critical novel vaccines, medicines and medical devices during a pandemic. 

MOM said the remaining residents of the dormitory are either pending verification or have not received a PSAR or EUL vaccine.

Verification is needed for those who have received their Covid-19 vaccination overseas, including migrant workers. This is to be done after they arrive in Singapore.

“This process requires individuals to show documentary proof of their overseas vaccination, and a positive serology test result from an approved medical provider in Singapore,” said the ministry.

A serology test, which involves a blood sample, is used to detect the presence of antibodies. It can show if the person might have been previously infected. 

MOM said the verification process takes several weeks.

“Until the verification process is completed and the vaccination records updated in the NIR, migrant workers will be considered as unvaccinated for rostered routine resting and public health actions,” said the ministry.

The workers’ vaccinated status will also be reflected on their TraceTogether app. 

“MOM will continue to work with employers on the vaccination verification process. We also continue to offer the vaccinations available in Singapore to migrant workers, and strongly encourage them to accept vaccination if they are unvaccinated,” said the ministry.