MOH seeks 'light vaccination teams' to provide Covid-19 jabs for homebound persons

MOH is seeking a total of about five "light vaccination teams" to vaccinate those who are homebound or bedbound, as well as their household members. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - "Light vaccination teams" to provide Covid-19 vaccination for people who are homebound are being sought through a tender process by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The ministry is seeking a total of about five such teams, each minimally consisting of a doctor and a nurse with a vehicle, to vaccinate homebound or bedbound people and their household members, including caregivers, from June, according to tender documents.

The tender on government procurement portal GeBiz was published on Wednesday (May 19), a day after MOH announced that it had worked with the Health Promotion Board and the Agency for Integrated Care to deploy home vaccination teams to provide jabs for those unable to travel to a vaccination site.

The initiative is part of efforts to extend the reach of the national vaccination programme, even as the ministry reported steady progress so far, with close to two million individuals having received at least the first dose of the vaccine as at Monday.

The documents state that such teams may visit multiple places of residence a day, and may also have to go to non-residential locations such as senior care centres, based on deployment schedules to be given by MOH.

Once arriving at the place of residence, the team has to, among other things, register and screen the patient, administer the vaccine, observe the patient for side effects after the jab, and manage any adverse effects or medical emergencies, should they occur.

Cold chain management for the vaccine must also be provided throughout the deployment - once the doses are collected from an assigned vaccination centre, and when they are transported from one place to another.

The vials of diluted vaccine are to be transported in pre-cooled cooler boxes with ice packs, a data logger and a buzzer alarm temperature logger showing current, minimum and maximum temperature, said the documents.

The team should be self-sufficient in terms of having the necessary medical supplies and equipment, such as personal protective equipment, syringes, needles, and laptops or tablets.

The doctor and nurse should be competent in the recognition and management of anaphylaxis - a very rare but potentially life-threatening allergic reaction - as well as in the safe administering of Covid-19 vaccination, as approved by the Health Sciences Authority. The doctor should have valid basic cardiac life support certification and be trained to respond to any medical emergency on-site.

The tender closes on May 27, with a contract start date of June 15. The contract is for an initial period of six months, with the option to extend for up to another six months.

Bidders will be evaluated based on price, number of vaccination teams they can provide, the lead time they need to operationalise the teams, and their experience in providing home care services.

The documents also state that the invitation to tender is non-exclusive, and MOH may seek other vendors or rely on in-house resources.

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