Study of 29,000 people quarantined in S'pore shows Covid-19 vaccines can prevent infection and severe illness

Vaccination also reduces the risk of an infection developing into a severe illness. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A local study analysing the data of 29,000 people quarantined in Singapore, including those unvaccinated, has found that Covid-19 vaccines offer 79.1 per cent protection against the disease.

A similar study done in Britain found that vaccination offered 88 per cent protection, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (June 18).

"We are 79 per cent, so not very far off," added Mr Ong, who was speaking at the press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

Vaccination also reduces the risk of an infection developing into a severe illness.

Mr Ong noted that of the 629 local cases reported since April 11 who had not been fully vaccinated, 54 of them or about 8.6 per cent developed serious illness, needing oxygen supplementation or admission into intensive care units (ICU).

"As for those fully vaccinated, there are altogether 158 persons who have been infected, two of them (1.3 per cent) required oxygen supplementation and none had ever been in the ICU.

"Both also had pre-existing illnesses. One was a patient at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the other a resident of MINDSville  @  Napiri," the minister added.

As at Thursday, there are 33 cases linked to the MINSDSville  @  Napiri cluster, while the TTSH cluster with 48 cases had closed on June 6.

"If we exclude all the patients and residents of TTSH and MINDSville (who were infected with Covid-19), altogether there are 120 fully vaccinated individuals who were infected, all of them either had no symptoms or mild symptoms," said Mr Ong.

Giving an update on the vaccination drive here, the minister said as at June 15, more than 4.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Singapore.

More than 2.7 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

This means that 49 per cent of the population have received the first dose, and slightly over 35 pent have received both doses and are fully vaccinated.

For seniors above the age of 60, 75 per cent of them have received at least one dose of the vaccine or booked an appointment, he said, adding that around 1,000 seniors have been walking directly into vaccination centres each day to receive their shots.

The vaccination rate is about 76 per cent for the 45-59 age group and 69 per cent for those between 40 and 44 years old, with the vaccination drive for the younger age group having started about a month ago.

Those between 12 and 39 years old started receiving their vaccinations about a week ago. Mr Ong said the vaccination rate for this age group is currently at 29 per cent.

"The response of students continues to be very encouraging. So far, 82 per cent of students have either received their first dose or already booked an appointment," he said.

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Mr Ong added that the imperative now is to boost nationwide vaccinations. Singapore has administered 47,000 doses a day over the past two weeks, up from 40,000 doses each day last month.

"We have the capacity to do more and are only constrained by supplies, so we are doing our best to confirm the delivery of more vaccines early.

"It is not easy because vaccines are a scarce resource and highly demanded by many countries around the world. But if we are successful, by July, we will be able to go beyond the current rate of 47,000 doses per day and open up many more bookings," he said.

The minister also called on employers to help facilitate their employees' vaccinations, by giving them time off work to get inoculated, as well as time to recover should they suffer from side effects such as fever.

"After all, a workforce with good vaccination is also a stable workforce, and that is good for your business," he said.

READ MORE: Singapore's Covid-19 rules from June 21: What you can and can't do

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