SINGAPORE - The number of vaccinated seniors who were infected has been falling each day from 1,000 cases at its peak in early October to 279 cases as at Tuesday, though seniors are still a very vulnerable group, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Wednesday (Oct 20).
The fall is likely due to a combination of several factors.
A major one is the booster jabs they have been receiving, which is warding off infections, said Mr Ong, who was speaking at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.
As at Tuesday, more than 600,000 eligible people have received their booster shots, and another 96,000 have booked their appointments.
Another factor is the fact that seniors are cutting back on their activities, Mr Ong said.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health urged everyone, especially the elderly and people with comorbidities who are more vulnerable to severe illnesses, to limit their social activities and go out only for essential activities.
However, in contrast to the vaccinated seniors who have been seeing falling infections, the number of unvaccinated seniors aged 60 and above getting infected still continues to be high, Mr Ong said.
They account for two-thirds of the patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who have died, he added.
As at Tuesday, there are a total of 71 cases in the ICU, 54 of which are of seniors above 60 years old.
"So over the past five days, the number of infections among this group averaged 127 a day, and for them the disease is not 98.6 per cent mild," said Mr Ong.
"For unvaccinated seniors in their 60s, our data shows one in four will require oxygen, ICU care or will succumb (to their illness).
"The risk goes up to one in three for those in their 70s, one in two for those in their 80s or older. Once an unvaccinated senior is on oxygen, more than one in five will go on to need ICU care or die.
"So I hope with the vaccinated-differentiated measures implemented recently, we can bring down the number of infections (among) unvaccinated seniors."