S'pore setting up paediatric vaccination centres; one can jab 1,000 children a day

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung visited one of the paediatric vaccination centres that can vaccinate about 1,000 children a day.

SINGAPORE - Paediatric vaccination centres are being set up as Singapore prepares to roll out its vaccination programme to children aged five to 11 later this month.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Dec 16) that he visited one of the paediatric vaccination centres - decorated with stickers of cartoon superheros - that can vaccinate about 1,000 children a day.

The centre, which is under healthcare provider Minmed Group, is gearing up to start work later this month, Mr Ong said.

"Lots of care was taken in designing the centre to clearly separate children and adult lanes. Even the computers used to input children's records are marked differently, with a big superhero sticker," he said.

Parents will be allowed to accompany their child at the centre, he added. Staff at the centre are specially trained in paediatric vaccination, and there will be paediatric experts supporting each vaccination centre.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said last week that more than 300,000 children aged five to 11 years old will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine from the end of the month.

This is the first Covid-19 vaccine approved by Singapore for use for children in this age group, following a recommendation by the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination, which the multi-ministry task force handling the pandemic accepted.

The recommended dosage of the Pfizer vaccine for children in this age group is one third of that used in persons aged 12 and above, spaced at least 21 days apart.

At a Covid-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Tuesday, Mr Ong said more vaccination centres were being planned to support children vaccination.

Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary noted at the press conference that trials of the Pfizer vaccine conducted in the United States found that children aged five to 11 had fewer side effects compared with those aged between 16 and 25.

About 5.5 million children in the US in this age group have received their first doses, and 2.6 million have completed two doses as at Dec 12, with no safety concerns, he said.

The trials showed that there were also no cases of anaphylaxis, or the rapid onset of severe allergic reactions, as well as myocarditis (heart inflammation) or pericarditis (inflammation around the heart), among children in this age group.

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