50,000 staff in education sector receive Covid-19 vaccination letters; over 80% have made appointments

The vaccination exercise for teachers comes as the MOH expands the national vaccination programme to people who offer essential and front-line services. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - More than 80 per cent of staff in education institutions who have been invited to take the Covid-19 vaccine have made appointments to do so, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said.

Close to 50,000 letters were sent out on March 10 in the first batch of invitations, encouraging educators to take their jabs so as to reduce the risk of transmission in the community.

The response from the education sector has been very positive, Mr Wong said, noting that some staff have already taken their first jab.

"(I'm) very glad to see them step forward, in the spirit of protecting not just themselves, but their students and school community," said Mr Wong in a Facebook post on Thursday (March 25).

The vaccination exercise for teachers comes as the Ministry of Health expands the national vaccination programme to people who offer essential and front-line services.

More than 150,000 teachers and other staff will be offered the Covid-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Education had said earlier this month.

The exercise covers those working in primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges and Millennia Institute, as well as those in special education schools, the Institute of Technical Education and polytechnics.

Vaccination will also be extended to staff at pre-schools licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and all MOE-registered kindergartens, as well as those in early intervention centres and programmes funded by or registered with ECDA for children with developmental needs, aged six and under.

Staff of private schools registered with the MOE that have full-time students below 18 years old, private education institutions - including international schools - with full-time students below 18, and madrasahs will also be offered the vaccine.

In his Facebook post, Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, shared some anecdotes from educators who have taken the vaccine or plan to do so.

One of them was Mr Tan Fong Wei, who is a subject head at Kranji Secondary School.

Commenting on his experience of taking the shot, Mr Tan said: "There was some numbness at the area where the jab went in, but I could still go about my day."

He advised those who were worried that they could take the shot in their non-dominant arm.

Meridian Primary School head of department Han Zi Rui said she was motivated to take the vaccine to protect the children under her charge.

"I chose to get vaccinated for my children - both my two little ones at home and my hundreds of children in school," she said.

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