The Ministry of Transport launched the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise on Monday (18 Jan), to vaccinate 37,000 frontline workers in the aviation and maritime industry.
Airplane and port pilots, cabin crew, cargo handlers, transit lounge workers, local seafarers, ship and plane repair technicians are among the workers who will be vaccinated as part of the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise.
Revealing that about 13,000 workers have registered to be vaccinated this week, Transport Minister urged more individuals to volunteer for vaccination in the coming weeks. He said on Facebook that the exercise will take place in two vaccination centres at Changi Airport T4 and Raffles City.
With capacity at the vaccination centres being ramped up to 8,000 injections a day, Mr Ong said that his ministry aims to substantially complete the exercise within two months.
Sharing photos of his visit to the vaccination centre, Mr Ong added: “These 37,000 workers come into contact with people and cargo from outside Singapore. When vaccinated, they will not just protect themselves and their families, but they would have taken a big step to secure the borders of Singapore and keep us safe from COVID-19.”
Singapore began novel coronavirus vaccinations last month and first offered vaccines to healthcare workers and other COVID-19 frontline and other essential personnel, including swabbers hired by Health Promotion Board, staff working at the Government Quarantine Facilities, Community Care Facilities, and dedicated Stay-Home Notice facilities.
COVID-19 vaccines will be free for all citizens, permanent residents and long-term residents and will become available as part of a large-scale non-mandatory immunisation scheme sometime this year.
Although the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine that has been approved for use in the immediate term, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on 4 Jan that vaccines developed by Moderna and China’s controversial Sinovac are expected to arrive in Singapore in the coming months. He added that Singapore will have enough vaccines for everyone by the third quarter of this year, if all things go according to plan.
The authorities will prioritise vaccinations of groups that are most at-risk, with plans to start vaccinating the elderly and those at greater risk of severe disease from next month, beginning with seniors aged 70 and above.
Vaccines for those who are in jobs or settings where risk of a super-spreading event is high, such as the construction, marine and process (CMP) sector, including migrant workers will be prioritised as well.
Mr Gan said in Parliament: “Thereafter we will progressively broaden our vaccinations to include other Singaporeans and long-term residents who are medically eligible.
“As more vaccines are approved for use, we will adjust our vaccination programme, depending on the vaccine supply as well as the disease epidemiology at that point in time.”
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