S'pore's Covid-19 vaccination programme to focus on 140,000 seniors aged 70 and above

The Ministry of Health has been contacting seniors to ramp up the vaccination rate. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The nation's vaccination programme in the coming weeks will focus on 140,000 unvaccinated seniors aged 70 and above, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (July 16).

This represents about 29 per cent of the seniors in the age group.

The minister was giving an update on vaccination figures at a press conference hosted by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

Noting that around 50 per cent of the local population would have received both doses of the vaccine by some time next week, he said: "We are well on track by National Day to have two-thirds, or at least two-thirds of our population vaccinated."

He added that over the past two weeks, around 80 per cent of people in all age groups have been vaccinated or have secured a booking, "except the group that needs it the most", which are those aged 70 and above.

Mr Ong said only 71 per cent of this group have been vaccinated or have been approached to make their appointments.

The Ministry of Health has been contacting seniors to ramp up the vaccination rate.

On July 14, letters were sent to general practitioners (GPs) and primary care providers, signed off by director of medical services Kenneth Mak, to persuade seniors above 70 to get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19.

Mr Ong said: "Our volunteers from the Agency for Integrated Care, the Silver Generation Office and the People's Association... continue to reach out to the seniors, knocking on doors, visiting them at home, addressing their concerns, and sharing with them the benefits of vaccination."

He added that when a senior has been convinced, the volunteers also help make arrangements to escort him to the vaccination centre if he has mobility issues.

"So far, 100 of such escorts have taken place," the minister said.

As at end-June, the Silver Generation Office has reached out to more than 650,000 seniors nationwide, Mr Ong noted.

Mobile vaccination units have also been deployed to reach out to as many seniors as possible, with 10 teams rotating around the different towns with high numbers of unvaccinated seniors.

Mr Ong said these towns include Bukit Merah, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun.

"In the coming weeks, we are going all out to try to reach out to their group of seniors in order to protect them," he added.

The minister also called on the public to persuade unvaccinated seniors to get their jabs, saying the benefits of doing so "far outweigh the costs".

Read next: What you need to know about the tightening of Covid-19 measures from July 19

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