Vaccination begins at special education schools, 85 receive jab on first day

Primary 6 pupil Efrem Lam, who has mild autism, received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination at APSN Chaoyang School on June 17, 2021. He was accompanied throughout by his mother Cheng Pei Chiou. PHOTO: APSN

SINGAPORE - Vaccination for students at special education (Sped) schools began on Thursday (June 17), including at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore School.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post late on Thursday night that about eight in 10 eligible students in Sped schools here have registered to get vaccinated.

A total of 85 students received their first dose on Thursday, some of them at the Rainbow Centre Admiral Hill School.

Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling also held a Facebook Live session on Thursday morning at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore School where she spoke about the preparations and how visuals were made for caregivers, parents and students to inform them about the vaccination process.

Mr Chan said two Sped schools began vaccination drives on Thursday. The vaccination teams will cover all 20 such schools by August.

He added that the mobile vaccination teams include personnel with experience in supporting Sped students during previous routine health checks and vaccinations, making the process easier for the students and their parents, who accompany them throughout.

"For extra support and reassurance, teachers and allied professionals have also taken the time to return to school during this term break to offer a helping hand and familiar presence to their students," he said.

On Friday, APSN Chaoyang School began vaccination for its Primary 6 pupils, who include those with mild intellectual disability or autism.

An APSN spokesman said the vaccination take-up rate across its four schools is between 80 per cent and 90 per cent.

The schools have made arrangements to set the minds of pupils at ease, include providing pre-vaccination information to them and their caregivers, and having APSN principals, teachers and allied professionals on-site to guide, assure and render support, she said.

"Today's our first day of the vaccination exercise for APSN pupils. Though it was a cold morning with heavy rain, it went smoothly and our pupils, accompanied by their caregivers, streamed in early in the morning," the spokesman said.

Primary 6 pupil Efrem Lam, 12, who has mild autism, was the first to get his jab at APSN Chaoyang on Friday.

He and his mother Cheng Pei Chiou, 42, arrived at the school at about 8.50am and left nearly an hour later.

Ms Cheng, an administration officer, said she was by her son's side throughout the vaccination process and the whole process was "quick and smooth".

"My son was not worried or scared. Since last year when the pandemic started, the school did educate him on the dangers of the virus and the importance of the vaccine, so he was quite supportive," she said.

Her husband and his mother have both been fully vaccinated, while she is waiting for her second dose in July.

Primary 6 pupil Efrem Lam, who has mild autism, received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination at APSN Chaoyang School and was accompanied throughout by his mother, Ms Cheng Pei Chiou. PHOTO: APSN

Having seen that his family members are fine after the jabs, with only some mild discomfort, Efrem knew he did not have to worry, said Ms Cheng.

"So far, he has only had a bit of soreness on his arm, but the nurse taught me to put on a wet towel for him," added Ms Cheng.

APSN's other three schools will be rolling out vaccination drives for their students on June 28 and 30.

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