AIC engages over 670,000 seniors on Covid-19 vaccination via visits, calls since Feb

Retiree Tay Kim Seng, who is housebound, getting a Covid-19 vaccine shot at his Kim Keat Avenue home on Sept 15, 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Seniors who are keen on getting vaccinated but have difficulties doing so can seek help from the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), as part of its efforts to protect the high-risk group against Covid-19.

Since February, the agency's outreach arm for seniors, the Silver Generation Office (SGO), has engaged more than 670,000 seniors aged 60 and above on the safety of Covid-19 vaccination and supported those who need help in getting vaccinated. This is mainly done through door-to-door visits and phone calls.

"Unvaccinated seniors are strongly encouraged to get a Covid-19 vaccine as Singapore transits towards a Covid-resilient nation," the AIC said in a release on Wednesday (Nov 17).

"This will allow seniors to resume more activities safely, such as participating in activities for seniors or dining in safely with their family and friends at hawker centres and coffee shops that are implementing vaccination-differentiated safe management measures."

For seniors who have mobility issues or whose caregivers have difficulty taking them for their vaccination, the SGO can arrange for them to be escorted to a nearby vaccination centre, or to be vaccinated at home.

After their vaccination, the outreach arm will also check in with them.

For seniors with underlying medical conditions, the office can coordinate with the Ministry of Health to bring forward their medical appointments so they can consult their doctors on their suitability for vaccination.

"As vaccination against Covid-19 has progressed smoothly for millions of people globally, there are now hardly any medical conditions that prevent one from getting a Covid-19 vaccination, and it should be safe for almost all seniors to get one," AIC said.

SGO also partners with the SG Healthcare Corps, a medical reserve force launched last year in the fight against Covid-19, to pair volunteer doctors with its staff to directly address seniors' concerns about vaccination.

AIC also encouraged seniors who have completed their two doses of Covid-19 vaccines to take their booster shots.

While the primary series of the recommended Covid-19 vaccines provides good protection against severe diseases, this could decrease over time, it said, adding that booster shots increase the level of protection against severe complications, and maintain the enhanced protection for a longer time.

AIC also urged seniors to avoid crowded places and to visit hospitals only if necessary. Infected seniors with mild or no symptoms need not rush to hospital but can self-isolate at home, it added.

SGO works with the Singapore Armed Forces and other agencies to support seniors who are on the Home Recovery Programme.

Among other things, it checks in with seniors through phone calls and physical visits, arranges for meal deliveries and provides support with errands such as the purchase of toiletries.

Seniors who need help to get vaccinated can call AIC's hotline at 1800-650-6060 or call a satellite office listed on its website. They can also e-mail or walk into any AIC Link, a resource centre which offers advice to seniors and caregivers.

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