SINGAPORE - Those aged below 45 will be invited to book their slots for Covid-19 vaccination from June, if all goes as planned, said Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary in Parliament on Monday (April 5).
He added that as at April 3, around 1.05 million individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine, of whom more than 468,000 individuals have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination regimen.
Updating the House on Singapore's vaccination programme, Dr Janil said that about 60 per cent of eligible seniors aged 70 and above, and close to 70 per cent of eligible seniors aged 60 to 69, have received the Covid-19 vaccination or booked their vaccination appointments to date.
Additionally, about half or close to 500,000 of residents aged 45 to 59 have registered for their vaccinations so far.
"We are encouraged by the strong response," said Dr Janil, adding that those who have registered for their vaccinations will progressively receive invitations through SMS to make appointments.
"This may take some time given the number who has registered," he said, adding that about 17 per cent of those aged 45 to 59 have received the vaccination or booked their appointments.
The rest should receive the SMS notification by the middle of May, and they can expect a booking slot by early June, he added.
The number of vaccination centres has been expanded to 31 currently, and there will be a total of 40 vaccination centres islandwide by mid-April, he said in response to MPs who sought updates about the country's vaccination programme.
This included Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC), who asked for figures on the proportion of people who have taken the vaccine, broken down by age group, and Mr Sharael Taha (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), who asked whether volunteers and staff at congregational and worship services can be considered as front-line workers and prioritised for vaccination.
Responding to Mr Sharael, Dr Janil said that older religious workers aged 45 and above are already eligible for vaccination.
He added that religious workers are also required to comply with safe management measures in conducting religious services and in other engagements with worshippers or devotees.
Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) asked if staff and volunteers involved in additional night prayers during the holy month of Ramadan can be prioritised for the vaccine, given the increased risk of infection as they are expected to serve at least 250 congregants a day.
In response, Dr Janil said the increased risk highlights the need for continued safe management measures and vigilance from everybody involved.
“If there are specific individuals who might have particularly high risk, we will look at their situation and try our best to accommodate them,” he added.
Dr Janil noted that Singapore’s supply of vaccines remains limited by the ability of vaccine manufacturers to deliver them, given the high levels of global demand.
"This has resulted in limited booking slots in recent days. I apologise for the inconvenience caused to those who have not been able to book earlier. As more supplies arrive, we will progressively open more slots."