SINGAPORE - Eight per cent of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients here in the past seven weeks had their condition worsen to the point of requiring supplemental oxygen, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (May 31).
In contrast, during the same time period, only one out of 93 - slightly over one per cent - of those who were vaccinated faced a similar situation, said Mr Ong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force (MTF) tackling the coronavirus outbreak here.
Acknowledging that these statistics, which reference locally transmitted cases, did not constitute "a full-scale empirical study", Mr Ong said that as more data becomes available, the protective benefits that Covid-19 vaccination will give an individual will become clearer.
"The vaccine reduces the chance of being infected and, more importantly, reduces the chance of being severely ill if you're infected with Covid-19," he said.
Speaking at an MTF virtual press conference, Mr Ong added that so far, more than 2.2 million people here have received at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
He noted that Singapore can now be more inclusive in its vaccination roll-out, allowing cancer patients who are being treated, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with a history of severe skin reactions - which are rare drug-induced disorders - to get their shots.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said in his national address just before the MTF press conference that Singapore will now vaccinate more people, faster.
Mr Lee noted that supply constraints had limited how quickly vaccinations could be rolled out. The nation has since confirmed it will receive vaccine deliveries more quickly over the next two months.
"With the latest supply schedule, we can further boost our vaccination programme. We can offer the vaccine to everyone, even sooner than we expected," he said.
He urged: "Whether you are old or young, please come forward to be vaccinated once it is your turn. With the more infectious virus strains, we need as many people as possible to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity, or get close to it.
"This is the way to make everyone safe and resume more normal activities."