Parliament: Employees can retain job scope even if not getting Covid-19 vaccine, says Gan Kim Yong

People who choose not to get the Covid-19 vaccine will not need to have a change of duties at their workplaces, unless there is a resurgence in the number of local cases.
People who choose not to get the Covid-19 vaccine will not need to have a change of duties at their workplaces, unless there is a resurgence in the number of local cases.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - People who choose not to get the Covid-19 vaccine will not need to have a change of duties at their workplaces, unless there is a resurgence in the number of local cases, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Monday (Jan 4).

He was responding to Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang), who had asked if those who are not vaccinated will have their job scopes reviewed, in order to reduce exposure to the virus.

All workers should continue to take the necessary precautions such as wearing masks, and where required, don personal protective equipment and undergo rostered routine testing, Mr Gan added.

He noted that there are certain groups of employees, such as researchers or laboratory staff, who may be working directly with the Covid-19 virus or face high risk of exposure to infected individuals.

The Health and Manpower ministries are reviewing the issue of vaccinating workers in such workplace settings, and will provide further advice later, he said.

In his ministerial statement on Singapore's response to the pandemic, Mr Gan said that the Health Ministry (MOH) will also introduce a vaccine injury financial assistance programme.

This scheme will support those who suffer a serious adverse event that is assessed to be related to Covid-19 vaccines administered in Singapore.

"While we expect few to need this, the programme will give peace of mind to those taking the vaccination," he said. "Further details on the programme will be provided in due course."

Mr Gan said that the Health Sciences Authority, as well as an independent expert committee appointed by his ministry, have studied the data on potential side effects caused by the Covid-19 vaccine.

The data includes information from clinical trials as well as the actual experience of countries where vaccination efforts are under way.

"They have factored this into their evaluation before granting authorisation or making a recommendation on the use of Covid-19 vaccines," he said.

People who get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may experience side effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, fever, muscle aches or headaches.

The authorities have recommended that those with known severe allergies should not be vaccinated.

People will also be observed on-site for 30 minutes post-vaccination, so that any severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis can be detected and treated promptly.