Covid-19 vaccination centres step up safety measures as S'pore's community cases rise

More precautionary measures have been put in place at vaccination centres like the one at Toa Payoh West Community Club, including having staff wear face shields over their masks. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - When Ms Hu Lu Yue, 60, visited the vaccination centre at Toa Payoh West Community Club on Thursday (May 20), she noticed that a few new measures had been introduced since her previous visit last month, when she was there for her jab.

Ms Hu, a piano teacher, was accompanying her mother for her first jab.

She said that during registration, staff at the vaccination centre asked them if they had visited Changi Airport recently.

Ms Hu was asked to wait outside the centre while her mother was in the observation area after getting her first shot.

She said: "I am okay with these changes because the staff know that I am outside, so they can just call me if anything happens."

Fullerton Health, a healthcare provider that runs vaccination centres, said that it is reminding its staff at the centres of its protocols and is monitoring their health more closely.

Added precautions are also being taken at three other vaccination centres that The Straits Times (ST) visited.

This follows Singapore entering a month of heightened alert on May 16 to stem the spread of Covid-19 cases in the community.

For instance, at the Kebun Baru Community Club on Thursday, Raffles Medical staff running the vaccination centre wore face shields over their surgical masks.

Mr Sam Weng Kin, 52, who was there for his second dose of the vaccine, said this was a good move.

Staff were not wearing face shields when he went for his first jab on April 15, he said.

Mr Sam, who is a food and beverage manager, said: "Last month, people had to queue outside to enter, but now, there is a waiting area where they can sit."

ST understands that the waiting area is for those who turn up for their appointments at the vaccination centre early, and also for people to wait during the 30-minute observation period after their jabs, so that it does not get too crowded inside.

"We are also progressively rolling out table shields at the respective registration and discharge stations at the vaccination centres," said Raffles Medical Group.

Meanwhile, at Yew Tee Community Club, Healthway Medical staff were giving out free masks to those who were there to receive the vaccine.

Staff (right) wearing surgical masks usher people to the observation area after vaccination, at Yew Tee Community Club, on May 20, 2021. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Healthway Medical Group said that it verifies whether the people visiting the vaccination centre were at Changi Airport on or after May 1.

The Covid-19 cluster linked to Changi Airport Terminal 3 had grown to 95 cases as at Wednesday (May 19).

Those who have visited the airport will be held in an isolated waiting area in the clinic away from others, and the doctor will see them as soon as possible, said Healthway.

Masks were also being given out at Senja-Cashew Community Club, where Thomson Medical operates a vaccination centre.

Mr Simon Tan, 51, who accompanied his wife there for her first jab on Thursday, said she was given a box of disposable masks.

He had received his jab at the same centre last week and did not receive any masks then, he said.

A spokesman said that Thomson Medical has increased the frequency of disinfection of the cubicles in which the vaccinations take place from a few hours to after every jab.

"I think they are being very careful about the Covid-19 situation because of the new variant," said Mr Tan, who runs an import-export business. "With these unlinked cases, they definitely can't take any chances."

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