PM Lee Hsien Loong urges senior citizens not to delay Covid-19 vaccination

PM Lee said seniors were at risk of Covid-19 even if they did not go out much as they could catch the virus from friends or family. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged seniors to get the Covid-19 vaccination and not wait until it is too late, addressing about 200,000 seniors aged 60 and above who have yet to receive their jabs.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (July 24), PM Lee said seniors were at risk of Covid-19 even if they did not go out much as they could catch the virus from friends or family, adding that the disease is dangerous for older people.

He said that Covid-19 is even more dangerous for seniors with other medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

"The vaccine will protect you from Covid-19. Some people may experience side effects, but these are mostly not serious," said PM Lee, 69, who completed his vaccination at Singapore General Hospital on Jan 29.

"You may feel unwell for a day or two, but you will be okay. It is just your body building up its immunity against Covid-19," he said in a video recording about the safety of the vaccine.

On Monday, it was reported that seniors aged 70 and above have a vaccine take-up rate of about 70 per cent.

Seniors can walk in to any polyclinic or vaccination centre to get their jab without registration or booking beforehand, PM Lee added in a statement on Saturday.

The Ministry of Health has also deployed mobile vaccination teams to the heartland to make it convenient for those who find it hard to leave their homes.

They are in 10 towns, including Bukit Merah, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun.

PM Lee's post comes after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the past week, with the Government encouraging seniors not to delay their vaccination on several occasions. The new local cases daily have been over 100 in recent days.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Friday that the number of seniors coming forward to get vaccinated now has almost doubled that of the past week.

"For the past three days, the number of seniors aged 70 and above who came forward to get their first dose was about 1,000 a day, double the number before," he said. He added that he was hopeful that the vaccination rate among seniors can rise above 80 per cent in the coming weeks.

The Jurong Fishery Port cluster was a key part of the decision to tighten pandemic measures, he said.

Fishmongers and stall assistants who got infected at the port also worked at various markets islandwide, which seeded more coronavirus cases in the community.

"Markets are frequented by seniors, many of whom remain unvaccinated. This is most worrying, and we are at risk of an uncontrollable rise in cases, which could potentially result in many severe illnesses or even deaths," said Mr Ong.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.