Ms Hazel Poa asked the Minister for Health to date, what has been the COVID-19 vaccination take-up rate for frontline workers and those who have been offered the vaccination.
Mr Gan Kim Yong: We continue to make good progress in our COVID-19 vaccination programme. Around 73% of healthcare workers working in our public and private sector, primary care, acute hospitals and long term care have been vaccinated with at least the first dose. In addition, about 72% of COVID frontline workers and essential workers in the aviation and maritime sectors, have been vaccinated.
Healthcare workers play a critical role in our fight against COVID-19. The key measure to prevent healthcare workers from being infected with COVID-19 is adherence to strict infection prevention and control protocols, which includes donning and doffing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), observing safe distancing, maintaining good personal hygiene, and adhering to safe workplace management measures at all times. These measures will remain in place even after the healthcare workers have received their vaccinations, to protect themselves, their colleagues and their patients.
In addition, all healthcare workers with acute respiratory illness of any degree of severity, are required to be tested for COVID-19 on first presentation. This ensures infections can be detected early to prevent further spread in healthcare settings.
The vaccine injury financial assistance programme (VIFAP) provides financial assistance to those who experience serious side effects linked to their COVID-19 vaccination administered in Singapore. They can submit a VIFAP application when the application process is opened.
The progress of our vaccination is currently constrained by the availability of vaccine supplies. If vaccine supplies arrive on schedule, we will have enough vaccines for all Singaporeans and long-term residents by the third quarter of this year and will be able to complete the vaccination programme by the end of this year. If we are able to secure more supplies earlier, we can accelerate the progress. However, we expect global supply chains are likely to be disrupted from time to time for various reasons. We have seen delays to our shipments due to disruptions at the manufacturer’s production facility. We continue to monitor closely the situation for any potential vaccine supply disruptions globally. We encourage all Singaporeans and long-term residents to be vaccinated when your turn comes, and to turn up at the vaccination appointments that you have made so that you do not deny another person of the opportunity.