Registration for Covid-19 vaccine to open for Primary 1 to 3 pupils on Jan 5

Mr Chan Chun Sing (in red) and Mr Janil Puthucheary (in white) during a tour of the vaccination centre at Senja-Cashew Community Club on Dec 26, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
The vaccination centre at Senja-Cashew Community Club will begin vaccinating children on Monday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
CMG20211226-TanLH01/陳来福/刘智澎/Visit to Senja-Cashew Community Club vaccination centre [Senja-Cashew Community Club vaccination centre]
The vaccination centre at Senja-Cashew Community Club will begin vaccinating children on Monday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Registration for the Covid-19 vaccination will open for Primary 1 to 3 pupils in Ministry of Education (MOE) schools and madrasahs on Jan 5 next year.

Registration for all other pupils in the age band will open on Jan 6, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Sunday (Dec 26).

This comes amid a growing number of cases of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus in Singapore, with 448 detected as at Saturday, including two suspected local clusters. 

Giving an update on the number of bookings so far, he added that more than 40 per cent of Primary 4 to 6 pupils have already been registered for the vaccine by their parents.

This group was offered the jab last Wednesday via SMS invitations sent to parents. About 110,000 messages were sent out, said MOE.

Mr Chan was speaking at a vaccination centre at Senja-Cashew Community Club, one of seven which will begin vaccinating children on Monday.

The other six will open at Nanyang Community Club in Boon Lay, Our Tampines Hub, Pasir Ris Elias Community Club, Woodlands Galaxy Community Club, Nee Soon East Community Club and Hougang Community Club. There will be 15 centres in total, with the remaining eight opening in two phases in January. 

Last Tuesday, the MOE announced that the national vaccination programme would be extended to children aged five to 11.

This covers about 300,000 children - who make up the largest unvaccinated group in Singapore - and will be offered to all children who are Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders.

Mr Chan had a tour of the centre on Sunday, where he and Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary observed how the vaccination centre - which is run by Thomson Medical - has been prepared to serve younger children.

As the centre will continue to serve adults and children over 12, it has put in place several measures to prevent the wrong vaccine dosage being given to children, including separate preparation rooms for the vaccines and different coloured caps for the vials containing the vaccines - orange for children and purple for adults.

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Education Minister Chan Chun Sing visited a vaccination centre at Senja-Cashew Community Club, one of seven which will begin vaccinating children on Monday Dec 27.

The paediatric dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine - the only brand currently approved for children aged five to 11 in Singapore - is 0.2 millilitres, compared with 0.3 millilitres for adults. 

There is also a separate queue lane for registration, as well as separate vaccination, waiting and observation areas. 

Thomson Medical’s chief executive for specialist centres, Ms Chan Wei Ling, who was also on the tour, said the centre at Senja-Cashew is equipped to handle up to 1,200 children for vaccination a day, and will be able to handle up to 2,000 a day when demand peaks. 

“We have a dedicated flow for kids under 11 years old, where parents can accompany them throughout the vaccination process from the point of registration to vaccination and observation,” she said.

She added that the centre has staff allocated to serving the kids and has plans to ramp up manpower according to demand for the vaccines. 

Vaccinators at the Senja-Cashew Community Club run by Thompson Medical will use shorter needles (right) to help ease children’s anxieties. ST PHOTO: NG WEI KAI

Thomson Medical's resident doctor Lin Zhiyong said he and another doctor will be on rotation at the centre, and doctors from the National University Hospital’s paediatric department will also be dropping in to help out.

He added that staff at the centre have been trained to vaccinate younger children. 

“We have been in preparation for quite a while, since the idea was first suggested by our ministers, and we will frequently go for weekly refreshers and hold recaps on how to deal with things like kids with needle-phobia and emergency drills,” he said. 

Mr Chan reiterated that MOE is encouraging parents to register their children for weekday vaccination slots, and that MOE would give medical leave to pupils who get vaccinated on school days.

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