Staff from nursing home, MHA receive vaccine

An employee at Ren Ci @ Bukit Batok Street 52 receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine yesterday. Fifty staff at the nursing home received the jab, and the other 110 or so employees will be vaccinated in two batches over the next two weeks.
An employee at Ren Ci @ Bukit Batok Street 52 receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine yesterday. Fifty staff at the nursing home received the jab, and the other 110 or so employees will be vaccinated in two batches over the next two weeks.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Singapore continued its vaccine roll-out yesterday with two major exercises involving staff from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ren Ci nursing home in Bukit Batok.

MHA said 80 Home Team officers involved in front-line healthcare operations received their Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 shot, with a total of 1,050 officers to be progressively vaccinated in the coming weeks.

The vaccination exercise, including the second dose, is expected to be completed in six weeks.

The personnel involved include the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) officers, staff from the Home Team Medical Services Division, and front-line officers from the Home Team Science and Technology Agency and Singapore Prison Service.

A total of 1,123 Home Team officers were identified for the first phase of the vaccination operation, and 94 per cent of them agreed to receive the jab, said MHA.

Warrant Officer 1 Mohamed Shafiee Jamin, 38, was the first Home Team healthcare front-liner vaccinated. The SCDF paramedic with Kallang Fire Station is involved in day-to-day medical emergencies.

"Taking the vaccine is not just for my personal safety, but also for the safety of the patients, my co-workers and my loved ones. My wife is also an SCDF paramedic and she will be receiving the vaccine later today," said WO Shafiee.

Lieutenant-Colonel Janice Oh, 42, also had the jab yesterday. The senior assistant director at SCDF's EMS department is involved in the planning of policies and exercises for the EMS team, including the Covid-19 response and vaccination exercise. She also participates in front-line paramedic duties.

"SCDF EMS will continue to attend to suspected Covid-19 cases in full personal protective equipment regardless of whether they have been vaccinated," she said.

At Ren Ci @ Bukit Batok Street 52, assistant director of nursing Elsie Teo, 66, was the first of 50 staff to receive the injection. The other 110 or so staff will be vaccinated in two batches over the next two weeks.

"After almost a year of dealing with Covid-19, I am glad that we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel with the development of the vaccine," said Ms Teo.

The nurse of 40 years added: "I am thankful we are prioritised to be vaccinated now. It gives me added assurance on top of existing safe management measures that I can continue to deliver safe care to the residents in the nursing home."

Ren Ci Hospital chief executive Joe Hau, who received his shot after Ms Teo, said a town hall was held earlier to address concerns staff might have about the vaccination.

He added that 80 per cent of staff across Ren Ci's two nursing homes and its community hospital will receive the shots. Of the rest, half could not be vaccinated as they have contraindications, such as potential severe allergic reactions, or are pregnant.

Ren Ci staff at the other nursing home in Ang Mo Kio and at its community hospital will be vaccinated in the coming weeks.

The roll-out across the community care sector is being overseen by the Agency for Integrated Care, which said another six nursing homes are due to have their staff vaccinated this week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2021, with the headline 'Staff from nursing home, MHA receive vaccine'. Subscribe