SINGAPORE - Two in three primary school pupils here have signed up for Covid-19 vaccination, and more than half of all primary school pupils have already received their first dose, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Tuesday (Jan 18).
In a Facebook post, Mr Chan added that children below 12 started receiving their second dose on Monday.
Covid-19 vaccination for over 300,000 children aged five to 11 here began on Dec 27, with older children given the jab first.
As at Jan 15, more than 100,000 children had received their first dose of the vaccine.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had told Parliament on Jan 10 that there are currently no plans to introduce vaccination-differentiated measures for children aged 12 and below.
"Children are less likely to develop severe illnesses when infected, and we want to preserve, as much as possible, universal access to holistic education for children," he explained.
On Tuesday, Mr Chan said that he is hoping most primary school pupils will be fully vaccinated before the end of Term 1 on March 12, as this will allow more activities such as the National School Games and Singapore Youth Festival to resume from Term 2.
The resumption of such activities will contribute to the "socio-emotional development of our children", he said.
Mr Chan added: "As we look around at the Covid-19 situation in many parts of the world, and even in our community, we must brace ourselves for a possible surge in infections, with the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant. We are already seeing early signs of a rise in cases in the younger population across the world, including those who are 11 years and younger."
He said that Singapore must learn from the experiences of other countries and put in place plans for learning to continue despite any potential disruptions caused by Omicron.
A high vaccination rate among students is key to such plans, said Mr Chan, urging parents and guardians to get their medically eligible children vaccinated as soon as possible.
He said: "Let us do our part to protect our children and the school community so that we can ride out the Omicron wave safely and resume more school activities to provide a holistic learning experience for our students."
Correction note: An earlier version of this story said children started receiving their second doses on Jan 16. Mr Chan Chun Sing has since updated his Facebook post to say that second doses have been administered since Jan 17.