Monday, October 18, 2021

70% of Singapore seniors have had one or more jab – it’s not enough

MOH is launching a drive to reach, reassure, and vaccinate as many of the remaining 30% as possible.

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Seniors were the first age group in Singapore to be offered the Covid-19 jab, but they now have the lowest take-up rate at 70%.

All other age groups have take-up of more than 80%, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday in a Facebook post.

This is the reverse of what the situation should be, given that seniors are the most vulnerable.

“The remainder gets harder and harder to reach,” he said.

Reaching those remaining seniors will involve first clearing their doubts and bringing vaccination closer to them.

The government is now undertaking a push to do just that, says the Straits Times.

“This is critical as seniors are the most vulnerable group, especially those with underlying health conditions which mean their immune system is weaker,” said the health ministry (MOH). “Without vaccination, they may not be able to fight off the virus.”

To make it more convenient for seniors to get their Covid-19 jabs, up to 10 mobile vaccination teams are being launched around Singapore, said the MOH on Thursday.

The mobile teams will be stationed for up to a week at locations near where many seniors live.

The same teams will later return to each location, so that seniors who received the first dose can get their second dose at the same place, MOH said.

The first mobile vaccination team was deployed to Anchorvale CC from July 7 to 13 for the first dose. Teams are currently deployed at Kallang and Whampoa CCs, from July 14 to 20.

Seniors aged 60 and above can walk into any of the existing vaccination centres with their identity card to receive their first jab without an appointment.

They may also visit any polyclinic or participating Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC).

More PHPCs will come under the national vaccination programme in the weeks to come.

Primary care providers such as general practitioners have also been urged to help persuade their elderly regular patients to get their Covid-19 vaccinations if they have not done so yet.

Staff and volunteers from the Silver Generation Office (SGO) will also reach out to unvaccinated seniors through house visits and help address their queries or concerns.

They will also provide advice on the nearest vaccination locations and assist those who require help in getting to the vaccination centres, or arrange for them to be vaccinated at home if they are homebound.

Yang Choe Sun is one of those to benefit from the home vaccination programme.

The housewife, 74, is bed-bound due to a bacterial infection that affected her ability to speak, swallow and move.

Unable to travel to a vaccination centre, she was referred by her doctor to the Agency for Integrated Care, which oversees the SGO and administers the home vaccination programme.

Her husband, retired taxi driver Chan Hui Teng, had been worried about her safety amid May’s surge in Covid-19 cases.

Chan, 71, said, “I feel more assured for her safety now, along with that of my family members.”

The government hopes many more seniors and their families will feel similarly assured soon.

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