54% in S'pore have received 2 doses of Covid-19 mRNA vaccine; vaccination rate up 1 percentage point a day

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore's vaccination programme is "progressing well".
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Singapore's vaccination programme is "progressing well".ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The nation's  Covid-19 vaccination rate has been going up by about one percentage point a day, with 54 per cent of the population having received two doses of the vaccine as at Sunday (July 25).

Revealing this in a ministerial statement on Monday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the national vaccination programme is "progressing well".

The statistics he cited was specifically for those who have taken messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines.

Mr Ong told Parliament that by National Day, almost 70 per cent of the population will have received two doses of these vaccines. This should rise to about 80 per cent by early September.

"This means Singapore will have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. It puts us in a strong position to transit to a Covid-19-resilient society," he said.

However, Mr Ong added that unvaccinated seniors, especially those aged 70 and above, are a source of worry. Currently, just more than 70 per cent of them have received two doses of the vaccine.

But he noted that more seniors are turning up at vaccination centres to get their jabs or getting them from mobile vaccination teams.

The rate of seniors receiving their shots in this manner has doubled over the past few days, from about 500 to more than 1,000 a day.

"This may be due to heightened awareness as a result of more community transmissions, the lifting of rules that had previously deferred vaccinations for those with medical conditions, and also our very intense outreach efforts," said Mr Ong.

Giving an update on the home vaccination scheme, which sees medical teams going to the homes of seniors to administer the Covid-19 vaccine, Mr Ong said that nine such teams have been launched so far.

As at July 23, 734 seniors had received their jabs under the programme.

Mr Ong said there were other approaches as well. They included mobile vaccination teams travelling to Pulau Ubin to vaccinate seniors.

He added that there were also doctors who reassured their patients by first persuading them to get vaccinated and then having them stay in their clinics the entire day so they can be watched over.

"This is a measure of the kind of society we are. We are making such an extraordinary effort with our seniors because we are not prepared to accept the high fatality rates among the elderly that other countries had or are still experiencing," he added.

As a result of these efforts, 77 per cent of those aged 70 and up have gotten their first doses of the vaccine, and should receive their second shots within a month or so, said Mr Ong.

"Even at our current level of vaccination, the preliminary evidence is that it has been effective in reducing the incidence of severe illnesses and deaths," he noted.

The minister pointed to the fact that although daily infections have gone up sharply over the past few weeks, the number of patients with severe illness who require oxygen supplementation or are in intensive care units remains low.

Currently, all patients with severe illness are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, said Mr Ong.

The authorities are continuing to monitor the situation closely, given that it takes about one to two weeks from infection for someone to develop severe illness.

"For now, it would appear that we have successfully weakened the link between infections and severe illnesses," added Mr Ong.

By the numbers

  • 54 per cent of the population have received two doses of a Covid-19 mRNA vaccine.
  • The population vaccination rate is rising by about 1 percentage point each day.
  • Almost 70 per cent are expected to have received two doses by National Day.
  • About 80 per cent are expected to have received two doses by early September.
  • 734 seniors have received vaccinations under the home vaccination scheme as at July 23.
  • 77 per cent of those aged 70 and up have received their first dose.
  • About 1,000 seniors are turning up vaccination centres each day to get their Covid-19 jabs or getting them from mobile teams.