More than half of 52,000 students eligible for Covid-19 vaccination booked their jabs

Students aged 12 to 18 will only be offered appointment slots at sites with Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.

Alfie Kwa | June 03, 2021, 05:08 PM

More than half of 52,000 students or parents who received invitations for Covid-19 vaccination in Singapore have booked their slots as at 7pm on June 1, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said.

These students were invited via SMSes sent to them or their parents to sign up for the vaccination.

The messages prioritise students taking the O-, N- and A-Level examinations or equivalent qualifications this year to receive their jabs.

"Vaccination for students in schools and institutes of higher learning is part of the larger national efforts to keep our education institutions and the wider community safe," MOE said in response to media queries.

Vaccination drive for students kick off in earnest

On May 31, it was announced that students aged 12 and above would be next in line for the national vaccination drive.

Booking of appointments started from June 1.

More infections among children in the recent Covid-19 outbreak have been reported.

The national Covid-19 vaccination exercise officially kicked off on June 3, 2021 for more than 400,000 students aged 12 and above.

"Prioritising vaccinations for students will make it harder for the virus to spread. Students who are vaccinated will have greater peace of mind, that they are keeping their family and loved ones safe while making it harder for the virus to spread," MOE said.

Vaccination roll-out for students kick starts

MOE spoke to 19-year-old Liew Wei Jin, who showed up for his vaccination.

Liew, who is amongst the graduating cohort, decided to get his vaccination as Covid-19 is getting more pervasive and thought it was a good idea to to play his part for the community.

The Straits Times (ST) also spoke to students who were in line at vaccination centres.

ST spoke to 17-year-old Anglo-Chinese Junior College student Ryan Oh, who was the first few in line to get his vaccination at Bishan Community Club.

The student told ST he is taking his A-level examination at the end of the year and wants to do his part to protect his grandmother who lives with him.

Even though many seniors have taken the vaccine, Ryan's grandmother is unable to do so as she has severe allergies.

One parent, Liza Ng, 46, signed up her 17-year-old daughter, Shyanne, for the jab even though she acknowledges that those who are vaccinated can still get Covid-19.

Ng, who is a civil servant said she wants to protect her daughter from the virus as much as she can and also booked her daughter's appointment early to not cause any disruptions to her upcoming examinations.

More students will get vaccinated progressively

These students taking their N-, O-, and A-level examinations will be the first to receive their invitations to be vaccinated so that they can have greater flexibility in scheduling their vaccination appointments in view of their upcoming national examinations.

Over the following two weeks, similar invitations will be progressively extended to other groups of full-time students in schools and IHLs, including the Privately-Funded Schools, Madrasahs and Special Education (SPED) schools.

Safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccination for students

Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at MOH, explained the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines for students.

He said: "The Health Sciences Authority has extended the authorisation of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for youths and adolescents between the age of 12 and 16 years."

"The approval under HSA's Pandemic Special Access Route approval framework has also been endorse by MOH's Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination, which also looked very closely at the data for the safety and efficacy of the vaccine."

Students can book their appointments at any of the vaccination centres, including the four dedicated MOE vaccination centres.

However, these students who are aged 12 to 18 will only be offered appointment slots at sites with Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.

Top image via MOE Facebook.