SINGAPORE - When Ms How Cai Ling received a text message on Wednesday (Jan 5) notifying her that she can register her son for Covid-19 vaccination, she immediately booked a slot for him at 3.30pm the next day.
The 42-year-old financial planner and her husband, technician Samuel Chan, 42, accompanied their son, Jarius Chan, eight, to the vaccination centre at Nee Soon East Community Club at 3.15pm on Thursday for his first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Jarius is a Primary 2 pupil at Naval Base Primary School.
Ms How said they waited just 10 minutes for his turn for vaccination.
"Everything went on smoothly. I think the vaccination is a must. I wanted my son to take the vaccination earlier so that he can share his experience with his classmates. Children go for a lot of enrichment classes and are at risk (of exposure to the Covid-19 virus)," she added.
When The Straits Times visited the vaccination centre at 2.45pm on Thursday, there were about 30 parents and children seated in the waiting area outside.
The number of people there climbed to about 50 an hour later, but by 5pm, the waiting area was empty.
ST understands that the vaccination centre, managed by Raffles Medical Group, can take up to 1,000 appointments a day, with 45 slots available every 30 minutes. On Thursday, 541 appointments were taken up.
Immunisation for Primary 1 to 3 pupils began on Thursday at 14 designated paediatric vaccination centres.
At the press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 on Wednesday, Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said vaccination for children between the age of five and 11 is progressing steadily. As at Jan 3, 11.4 per cent of children have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Ms How said that to prepare Jarius for his vaccination, she held a "rehearsal" the day before.
"We wanted him to know what the process is like and what questions will be asked (of him). He was excited about it," she said.
Jarius, who will take his second dose on Feb 12, told ST: "There is nothing to be scared of. It's just a bit of pain, like an ant bite."
Chef Rozman Abdul Rahman, 42, who arrived with his daughter, Nuwara Ellya Putri Rozman, six, a Primary 1 pupil at Sembawang Primary School, at Nee Soon East CC at 2.30pm, said they had to wait for only five minutes.
"She is excited (to receive the vaccine) because her brother got his yesterday," he added.
At the same vaccination centre was private-hire car driver Mohammad Rifqi Abdul Jalil, 39. He was there with his son, Muhammad Rafa Qusyairi Md Rifqi, eight, a Primary 2 pupil at Huamin Primary School, for the boy's 3pm appointment.
Mr Rifqi said the process went smoothly. "There was nothing to worry about."
Rafa, who will get his second jab on Jan 27, said he was happy to have taken the first dose of the vaccine and hopes to be able to visit Legoland in Malaysia.
Mr Rifqi's wife, clinic assistant Norliyana Mustaffa, 37, said: "I think it is better for (Rafa) to take the jab as soon as possible, so that he can be protected."