SINGAPORE - Up to 50 new Covid-19 mobile vaccination sites will be set up islandwide to make it easier for seniors to get their jabs, with the first three centres opened on Monday (June 27).
The three new sites operating from Monday are in Nee Soon in Yishun Central, Telok Blangah and Ansar in Chai Chee.
Of the 50 sites, 39 - mostly at residents' committee (RC) centres - have been confirmed and will progressively open between now and the end of July.
The expansion of neighbourhood vaccination locations comes amid an uptick in the number of infections, driven by the newer BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants.
The sites are primarily for seniors to walk in for their shots, but are open to others to take their jabs, whether it is their first, second or booster jabs.
The centres are open from 9am to 11.30am and 1pm to 5pm from Monday to Friday, with the last registration timing at 5pm. They will offer the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
A total of 25 mobile vaccination teams will be deployed among these sites for about two days, unlike last year when they were stationed for around one week. Those who wish to walk in to get their jabs should refer to the schedule here.
On Monday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the number of seniors who have not taken their first booster shots has gone down to 70,000 from the 80,000 he mentioned last week.
He was speaking to reporters after touring the mobile vaccination centre at Nee Soon Central, where Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong was also present.
Mr Ong said mobile vaccination teams and centres are an important strategy as they bring vaccination closer to seniors.
Seniors aged 80 and above are recommended to take a fourth vaccine shot.
Those who are younger will still have protection from their first booster shot after nine months, although a second booster shot will be made available to those who live with the elderly, travel often or have underlying illnesses, said Mr Ong.
Seniors who have taken their vaccine booster shots are less likely to die or become severely ill from Covid-19, compared with those in the same cohort who have only two shots, Mr Ong said last week.
Seniors with all three shots have a three in 1,000 chance of such negative outcomes, while those with two shots have a 10 in 1,000 chance of this happening.
Those who remain unvaccinated are at the highest risk, with a 40 in 1,000 chance of death or critical illness requiring intensive care.
"It makes a difference whether you have taken zero, one, two or three shots," he said in a video clip on TikTok urging the elderly to get their shots ahead of the next Covid-19 wave.
On Monday morning, Mr Sugamaran Nair, 74, took his sister, Madam Subatra Nair, 78, to the Nee Soon Central vaccination centre for her second booster shot.
Mr Nair had received a call from the RC last Saturday to ask him to take his jab, but as he had already got his, he decided to take his sister there instead.
Madam Nair said: “It is a lot more convenient for me as I live nearby. As I need a walking stick to get around, going to a farther place will be more difficult.”