Over 200,000 seniors receive Covid-19 vaccine booster shots

Seniors wait in the observation area after receiving their Covid-19 booster jabs at Teck Ghee Community Club on Sept 15, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - More than 200,000 seniors here have received their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, while 87 per cent of seniors aged 70 and above are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli gave the update on the vaccination of seniors during the Community Care Day celebrations held virtually on Monday (Oct 25).

In his speech during the event, he also said that 95 per cent of employees in the community care sector, which encompasses senior care facilities and nursing homes, have been vaccinated.

Addressing community care staff at the event, Mr Masagos said: "The past few weeks have been extremely challenging. With the spike in community cases, it has put a heavy strain on you and our healthcare sector.

"But, because of your hard work, commitment and support, our seniors are safe and protected. They can live and age well, despite these challenging times. Your resilience and perseverance have been instrumental in our national fight against Covid-19."

Organised by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), Community Care Day, which started in 2019, celebrates efforts made by the sector to enable Singaporeans to live well, age gracefully and with dignity in the community.

Themed "Celebrating our Community Care Heroes", this year's Community Care Day honours selfless acts and dedication to quality care that staff in the sector have shown during the pandemic.

Thirteen organisations, including Lien Foundation, Tote Board and the Singapore Exchange received the Friends of Community Care Awards during the event.

Launched last year, the awards acknowledge the work of organisations outside the community care sector for their support and contributions.

During his speech at the event, Mr Masagos highlighted the progress made by home vaccination teams, which go door to door providing vaccination to residents in the heartland.

"On top of the vaccination efforts in our eldercare centres and nursing homes, we also deployed 33 home vaccination teams from six community care providers and general practitioners," he said.

Beyond the pandemic, Mr Masagos also touched on the rollout of the active ageing centres and care hubs which would serve as go-to points for seniors to access services such as active ageing programmes, befriending, and information on and referral to care services.

"Despite the ongoing crisis, we must not waver in our core mission to enable seniors to live well and age well with dignity. We have made progress.

"Earlier this year, I shared our plans to introduce over 200 active ageing centres and care hubs into our new eldercare centre service over the next three years... We have since rolled out 60 such centres and hubs, with 50 more next year," he said.

Mr Masagos cited the example of a senior, 77-year-old Ivy Goh, who attends Fei Yue Community Services' Active Ageing Centre near her home.

Through the centre, Madam Goh was able to participate in daily exercises and weekly bingo games. She also received health checks by a nurse who visited the centre each month.

Noting that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of finding news ways to improve care delivery and outreach, Mr Masagos said: "I encourage the sector to continually innovate, tap digitalisation to help you do your work better, and foster stronger collaborations with the wider healthcare and social service sector."

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