Over 1 in 3 kids invited for Covid-19 vaccination have signed up; December slots fully booked

<p>Primary school children and their parents cross a traffic junction at Sengkang West Ave with umbrellas to shield themselves from the afternoon sun, taken on Aug 21, 2020.</p>
The vaccination exercise for more than 300,000 children will be done across 15 paediatric centres, and rolled out in batches. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More than one in three children who were invited to be vaccinated have been signed up by their parents, and slots in December 2021 have been fully booked, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Thursday (Dec 23).

This invited group comprises pupils in MOE schools and madrasahs who will be in Primary 4 to Primary 6 next year, and bookings were opened on Wednesday for them. 

About 110,000 SMS invitations were sent on Wednesday to parents, asking them to book appointments, said MOE. The text messages included a unique link to book an appointment.

On Tuesday, MOE announced that the national Covid-19 vaccination programme has been extended to children aged five to 11.

In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said there has been a “very good” take-up rate for weekend vaccination slots scheduled for January next year.
 
He said parents should consider booking weekday slots, and that children who get vaccinated during school hours and later feel unwell will be given medical leave.
 
He added that the Ministry of Manpower has urged employers to give their workers time off for their children’s vaccination.
 
MOE said that the opening of the National Appointment System will be brought forward by a day to Sunday (Dec 26).

It added that from Sunday (Dec 26), parents with children born between 2010 and 2012 can register their interest at this website to get their child vaccinated.

After registration, they will receive a unique link via SMS within three to five working days to book a vaccination appointment, said MOE. 

Mr Chan said MOE has received questions from parents on what to do if their child is on the brink of turning 12. 

He said that if the child has reached age 12 on the date of their first vaccination appointment, they should be given the adult dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine.
 
They can walk into any of the 22 vaccination centres offering this vaccine, without an appointment.

Mr Chan said: “The five-to-11 age group is by far the largest remaining group of unvaccinated population in our midst, at over 300,000.

“We strongly encourage parents/ guardians to register their child/ward for vaccination when they receive the invitation, if they are medically eligible.
 
“This is an important step for us to keep our children, our families and our extended communities, including our schools and pre-schools, safe and more resilient against Covid-19.”

The vaccination exercise begins next Monday (Dec 27) and will serve more than 300,000 children across 15 paediatric vaccination centres, said MOE and the Early Childhood Development Agency on Tuesday (Dec 21).

All children who are Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders are eligible for this vaccination exercise.

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