Coronavirus Singapore

Most of SAF to be vaccinated by middle of this year

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (right) joined 20 Singapore Armed Forces personnel to receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine last week at the Mindef Medical Centre in Bukit Gombak. Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (right) joined 20 Singapore Armed Forces personnel to receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine last week at the Mindef Medical Centre in Bukit Gombak. Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad and SAF's Chief of Medical Corps, Colonel (Dr) Lo Hong Yee, also received their jabs.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE/FACEBOOK

The first batch of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Jan 14, with plans for most of the SAF to be vaccinated by the middle of this year, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said yesterday.

The first phase of the SAF's vaccination programme targets medical and Covid-19 front-line personnel.

It is expected to be completed in six weeks, including the second dose, Mindef said in a Facebook post.

Personnel in critical units - such as those involved in the protection of key installations, sea and air defence, and counter-terrorism - will be next in line, before the rest of the SAF receive their shots.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in the same post that there are plans to get the bulk of the SAF's active forces vaccinated by the middle of this year.

Singapore is ramping up its vaccination programme, with those in the military joining others who have already received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, such as Home Team officers, nursing home staff, and healthcare and aviation workers.

Dr Ng and Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad joined 20 SAF personnel to receive the vaccine last week at the Mindef Medical Centre in Bukit Gombak.

The personnel included Chief of Medical Corps, Colonel (Dr) Lo Hong Yee. They will receive their second dose 21 days later.

All active SAF service personnel who are medically eligible to be vaccinated will be able to receive the vaccination, said Mindef.

"Wide vaccination coverage in the SAF will protect our servicemen and women, support the SAF's operational readiness, and enable the wider resumption of training and force generation activities," it said.

Among the first to receive the vaccine was Corporal Talgeri Raviraj Ramchandra, a combat medic from the Jurong Camp medical centre.


JABS FOR SERVICEMEN: Corporal Talgeri Raviraj Ramchandra (left), a combat medic, was among the first batch of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers to receive the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on Jan 14. The 20-year-old full-time national serviceman said he was grateful to be one of the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and that this made him more confident in carrying out his duties. He was among 22 people from the SAF and the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) who were vaccinated last week, including Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad, Mindef said yesterday. The plan is for most of the SAF to be vaccinated by the middle of the year. This comes as Singapore is ramping up its vaccination drive, with Home Team officers, nursing home staff and healthcare and aviation workers among others who have received their jabs in recent weeks.

The full-time national serviceman, 20, said: "I am grateful to be one of the first SAF personnel to receive the vaccination. It makes me more confident in carrying out my job. I can also (better) protect those around me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2021, with the headline 'Most of SAF to be vaccinated by middle of this year'. Subscribe