SINGAPORE - Amid more infections among children in the recent Covid-19 outbreak, Singapore will roll out its vaccination exercise to more than 400,000 students in schools and institutes of higher learning, including autonomous universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education .
Starting from Tuesday (June 1), students will be invited to sign up for vaccination slots.
Q: My child turns 12 after June 1. Can he or she take the vaccine?
For now, vaccination will only be open to children who are at least 12 years old as at June 1, 2021, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said.
Those who turn 12 after June 1 will be invited for vaccination at a later date.
Q: Who is eligible for this vaccination exercise for students?
More than 400,000 students from schools and institutes of higher learning will be eligible.
This includes those in primary and secondary schools, junior colleges, the Millennia Institute, madrasahs, special education schools, and the international arms of Hwa Chong Institution, Anglo-Chinese School and St Joseph's Institution.
Full-time students in polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the autonomous universities will also be invited for the jab, including those enrolled in full-time continuing education and training programmes such as master's courses.
This does not cover students in private schools and other international schools, who will be eligible for the vaccine when it is made available to those in their age bands.
Q: Will students be able to choose which vaccine they want to receive?
Those aged 18 and above can opt for either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, while those aged between 12 and 17 will only be offered the Pfizer jab as the Moderna vaccine has not been approved for use with this age group.
Q: How do we know that the vaccine is safe for children? What are the possible side effects?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently the only Covid-19 vaccine that has been authorised for use in adolescents aged 12 to 17 here.
The Health Sciences Authority and the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccines here had reviewed the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine based on the clinical trials for individuals in this age group, said MOE.
The safety profile of the Pfizer vaccine in the younger population is consistent with the known safety profile in the adult population, added MOE.
The side effects include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills and fever, which are generally resolved on their own within a few days.
Q: If students cannot get vaccinated during this vaccination exercise (e.g. due to being unwell or overseas), will they be able to get vaccinated later?
Yes. They can do so when vaccination exercise is opened up to the general public for their age bands, and if they are deemed medically eligible at that time.
Q: Will parents be allowed to accompany their child to the vaccination centres?
Parents or guardians are required to accompany those below the age of 13 to the vaccination centre.
While parents are not required to accompany children aged above 13, they can do so if they wish. They will be ushered to a family waiting area outside the vaccination room to avoid congestion.
Q: What should students or their parents do if they have yet to receive the SMS for the vaccination?
SMSes will be sent to students aged 18 and above, and to the parents of children below 18.
Parents or guardians of students in O, N and A levels (or equivalent) cohorts who have yet to receive the SMS by June 3 should contact the child's school for assistance.
In general, other students who are in schools and the institutes of higher learning should receive their SMSes by the end of the second week of June.
Students who have yet to receive a SMS by the dates stipulated by their institutions should quickly inform the designated contact persons in their institutions for assistance.
For ITE students, the ITE will make arrangements for them to receive their shots on campus.
Q: What happens if students miss their vaccination appointment? Will they be allowed to make another appointment?
Students who miss their first vaccination appointment during MOE's vaccination exercise will be able to reschedule later when the vaccination is open to the public for their age bands, if they are medically eligible for the vaccine then.
If students miss their second vaccination appointment, they should contact the Ministry of Health on 1800-333-9999 for further assistance.
Q: What happens if a student's vaccination appointment clashes with his upcoming oral national examinations?
If there are such clashes, changes to their oral examination dates within the oral examination window can be accommodated where possible, the MOE said.
Alternatively, the vaccination appointment can also be rescheduled where possible.