SINGAPORE — By the end of March, the Singapore government hopes to have set up at least one community COVID-19 vaccination centre in every town, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (26 January).
This will ensure that when more vaccines arrive, they can be quickly distributed to the population, in particular the elderly, Chan told The Straits Times as he visited the community vaccination centre at Tanjong Pagar Community Club (CC).
Together with another centre at Teck Ghee CC, which will be operational on 1 February, they are the first two of such facilities set up amid the national vaccination drive which started this month.
According to the Straits Times, these community vaccination centres differ slightly from existing vaccination centres to better cater to the elderly, with features such as bigger booths to accommodate wheelchairs and chairs with armrests.
“One of the things about this national community vaccination exercise is that people... can go to any particular centre that is open, so long as they have slots that are available to them. So we are going to make it easy to access for as many people as possible,” said Chan, who is also the Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
“Our aim is to build the vaccination capacity ahead of the arrival of the vaccines, so that the vaccination capacity will not be the constraint or the bottleneck.”
Seniors at two estates to be first to get invitations for vaccination
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had announced last Friday that seniors at two housing estates, Tanjong Pagar and Ang Mo Kio, will be the first to get invited for the voluntary vaccination exercise.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 seniors aged 70 and above in each of the two estates are expected to take part in this phase.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) sent out a first batch of about 10,000 letters to senior citizens in Tanjong Pagar and Ang Mo Kio on Monday, inviting them to make an appointment for their vaccinations.
Chan told CNA that, since bookings opened on Monday, the vaccination centre at Tanjong Pagar CC has received about 300 vaccination bookings.
"As people become more confident of the process, I think the take-up rate will progressively go up. So we have to keep monitoring this and then make fine adjustments to the capacity at the respective vaccination centres," he added.
Each centre able to administer 2,000 vaccinations per day
The Straits Times reported that each community vaccination centre will be able to administer 2,000 vaccinations per day, from 8am to 10pm.
In order not to waste any vaccines, supply is brought in based on appointments made at a particular venue on a certain day.
At each community vaccination centre, there will be a booking centre for elderly residents to make their appointments in person, should they be unable book their appointments online.
Volunteers from the People’s Association will be on hand to advise the seniors and check whether they are eligible to take the vaccine. Chan told CNA that these volunteers have also been mobilised to go on house visits to elderly residents to see if they need help in understanding the vaccination process or in booking the appointments.
MOH also has a mobile vaccination team for seniors who are not mobile and cannot leave their homes, said Chan.
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