SINGAPORE - Although he already had an appointment for his Covid-19 vaccine booster shot next Tuesday, Mr Pius Peter, 63, was relieved when he learnt from the news on Thursday night (Sept 30) that he could get his jab without an appointment.
On Friday morning, the retired director of agencies at an insurance company walked to Bishan Community Club (CC) near his home to get his booster Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine dose, about six months after he received his second jab.
Mr Pius told The Straits Times: "When I found out last night I could just walk in, I did not waste any time and came down first thing this morning. I take blood pressure medication, so I felt it would be beneficial to get the booster shot as early as possible."
He was one of 20 seniors aged 60 and above whom ST spoke to at the vaccination centres in Bishan and Sengkang CCs on Friday.
The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that all Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders aged 60 and above can walk in to any vaccination centre, polyclinic, or participating public health preparedness clinic to get a third shot of the vaccine without an appointment.
At Bishan CC, Madam Susan Chong, 68, who works in the service industry, said she could not commit to making an appointment due to her unpredictable work schedule.
When she was told by her friends that she could walk in, she decided to do so on Friday morning as she did not have to work and also because she could use the weekend to rest.
Madam Chong added: "I wanted to get the booster shot to protect myself amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore."
Mr Dixon Chua, 67, drove from River Valley to Bishan to get his booster dose, a day after he learnt he could walk in for the shot. He chose Bishan as he was familiar with the area and knew that parking his car would be convenient.
"I wanted to get my jab done early to be on the safe side," the retiree said.
About 30 per cent of the seniors getting vaccinated at Sengkang CC on Friday morning were walk-in recipients of booster jabs, Mr Elvin Ng, a staff member of the Health Promotion Board, estimated. He is a representative of the board's programme that rewards people who refer seniors to get vaccinated.
Madam Tan Yek, 74, went to Sengkang CC on Friday morning to ask about her booster jab after she received a message saying that she was eligible.
She was surprised to find out she could get her jab on the spot.
"This is really convenient and fuss-free," she said.
Madam Kamariah Abdul Rahim, 67, a part-time cleaner, was at the same CC to change her TraceTogether token. She heard on the radio about seniors being able to walk in for booster doses before she left the CC and decided to get her shot.
She said: "I'm usually free only on Saturdays because I need to look after my grandchildren, but I found out I can do it today. It's convenient."
Although the announcement was made only on Sept 30, seniors have been walking in as early as last week to get their booster shots without an appointment.
Madam Jacqueline Tan went to the CC on Friday as her husband told her that he managed to get his booster shot by walking in last week.
Madam Tan, 60, said: "There are so many cases lately and I'm already 60. I go to the office every day and I'm very worried of getting infected, so I decided to get the jab as soon as possible."
Madam Susan Ho, 72, a company secretary, wanted to get her booster dose as soon as possible as she might have to attend a wake soon.
She said: "My brother-in-law might pass away soon. There would be so many other people at the wake. So my family members and I decided to quickly get the booster shot to stay safe and keep others safe."