Private sector rolls out initiatives to support Covid-19 vaccination programme in Singapore

OCBC said it will educate its 10,000 workers in Singapore about the Covid-19 vaccine.
OCBC said it will educate its 10,000 workers in Singapore about the Covid-19 vaccine.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The move to get people in Singapore vaccinated for Covid-19 has received reassurances from OCBC Bank and insurance company Great Eastern, which separately announced programmes to support those receiving the shots.

Great Eastern announced a $1 million vaccine fund for its customers last Friday (Jan 15).

Those who get the shots will receive a daily hospital benefit of $300 for up to seven days, if they are hospitalised because of the vaccine within three months from the day of the first dose.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank said on Monday that its staff in Singapore will have their medical consultation fees reimbursed if they develop side effects from the vaccine. In addition, bank employees will get a day off on the day they receive the jab.

Employees will also be allowed to work from home for one week after vaccination.

They will receive private taxi reimbursement to and from the vaccination clinics and an additional two days of medical leave without the need to provide a medical certificate in the event of side effects.

Similar initiatives will be rolled out for employees in the bank's core markets such as Malaysia and China when the vaccine is available in those countries, said OCBC in a statement.

The bank added that it will educate its 10,000 workers in Singapore about the Covid-19 vaccine.

This began last Friday with a webinar featuring Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.

Registration was fully subscribed within half a day, prompting the bank to double the number of places to 1,000 employees.

The most common questions asked - whether those with pre-existing medical conditions could take the vaccine; potential side effects it might have; what to avoid after vaccination; and if it was safe to take more than one set of vaccines from different manufacturers.

More webinars with medical experts are in the pipeline, said the bank.

These will explain the side effects of the vaccine and its impact on safe distancing measures. They will also answer any concerns to allow employees to make a informed decision on whether to be vaccinated.

Mr Jason Ho, OCBC Bank's head of group human resources, said: "While the decision for taking a Covid-19 vaccination is very personal, we want to help our employees come to a decision based on sound medical advice." 

The bank's Covid-19 Vaccination Support Programme is an extension of its Covid-19 Care Package launched last March to look after its employees and family during the global pandemic.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, Prudential and DBS said that they have rolled out initiatives for customers and employees amid the vaccination programme.

From last Wednesday, Prudential’s Integrated Shield Plan and corporate customers were given coverage in case they are hospitalised as a result of side effects from the Covid-19 vaccinations. There is no change to the  premiums.

This coverage is also extended to the insurer’s more than 1,400 employees.

DBS said since last March, its employees could access free medical helpline and virtual doctors. The bank’s group head of rewards Cheong Meng Foong said DBS supports Singapore’s national Covid-19 vaccination effort. 

“As the authorities continue to ramp up vaccination, DBS will continue to assess if and what additional support employees may need,” added Ms Cheong.