SINGAPORE - More manpower is needed for Singapore's Covid-19 mobile vaccination teams, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Friday (Aug 6).
He said the public sector has expended all its resources and is working flat out on this front, and appealed to all doctors and registered nurses outside the public health sector to volunteer their services.
Mobile vaccination teams are needed to vaccinate seniors who are immobile and unable to travel to vaccination sites.
More teams are now needed to cut down the waiting time, which has grown to eight weeks, because of high demand.
Each team will need a doctor and a nurse, because these seniors may be frail and immobile, and the nurses and doctors will have to be close by when the seniors get vaccinated, Mr Ong said.
"We seek your help at this juncture," he said on Friday at a press conference, as he outlined the progress the nation has made in vaccinating its seniors.
Around 1,000 seniors come forward daily to take their first doses, Mr Ong said. He added that this number has come down slightly to around 800 to 900 a day but that it remains an encouraging number.
Currently, Singapore has around 10 mobile vaccination teams across 10 towns and 70 locations to bring vaccinations closer to seniors. The teams have vaccinated about 3,340 seniors above 60, Mr Ong said.
Good progress has been made. The percentage of seniors aged 60 to 69 who have received at least one dose has risen from 84 per cent a month ago to 89 per cent today.
Significant progress was also made for those above 70, where vaccine coverage increased from 74 per cent a month ago to 82 per cent now.
"So we will continue to make a big push to vaccinate our seniors," Mr Ong said.
He added that those who are unvaccinated mainly fall into two categories.
The first group is made up of those who are contraindicated, meaning that because of illnesses or allergies, they have been advised not to take the jab.
However, new evidence has emerged, and Singapore's expert committee has advised that most people with such conditions can now be vaccinated.
So, for this group, the Health Ministry has asked its polyclinics and hospitals to try to bring the seniors' regular appointments forward so that doctors can review their conditions and advise them on whether they can take the vaccinations.
General practitioners are doing likewise, and Mr Ong hopes that private hospitals will do the same.
The second group of unvaccinated seniors is made up of those who are immobile and confined at home, and hence unable to go to vaccination sites, Mr Ong said.
"So, our home vaccination teams have been working flat out to vaccinate them at home. But the demand is very sizeable and growing, and the waiting time is now about eight weeks, which is quite long," Mr Ong said.
The Health Ministry will have to beef up its resources and increase the number of home vaccination teams in order to cut down the time, Mr Ong said. To do so, more teams will be needed, he added.