SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Singapore has kicked off its national Covid-19 vaccine booster programme on Wednesday (Sept 15), with more than 100 seniors having taken their shot at one of the many centres islandwide.
Over the next few days, a total of 140,000 seniors will receive invitations from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to make an appointment to receive their booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
Seniors can also receive their third dose at Tanjong Pagar Community Club and some vaccination centres, polyclinics and participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics.
Retired NTUC Income chief executive Tan Kin Lian was among the first in line at Teck Ghee Community Club, home to a vaccination centre run by Raffles Medical Group.
By noon, more than 100 seniors had taken their third shot at the centre.
"I'm in favour of vaccinations. If you're unvaccinated, you're five to eight times more likely to suffer serious illness," said Tan, who went after his morning exercise.
"People are getting quite frightened as the number of cases rises," said the 73-year-old who took the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Retired clerk Ronnie Lee, 79, also took his booster shot on Wednesday morning as he was concerned about the rise in Covid-19 cases in the community.
"I read in the papers that unvaccinated senior citizens face more problems. It's for your own good to get the vaccine," he said.
Lee, who experienced mild soreness in his arm after the first jab, added that he would go for more booster shots in the future.
"I believe it's the same as flu. I get the flu jab every year," he said.
Raffles Medical Group, which runs 14 vaccination centres, told The Straits Times that more than 200 seniors will be receiving their booster shots at Tanjong Pagar CC on Wednesday.
ST understands that some seniors had even walked in to Teck Ghee CC and some vaccination centres on Tuesday to get their booster shots.
On Tuesday, 755 new cases were reported in the community, the highest in over a year. Among these cases were 231 seniors aged 60 and above.
The Ren Ci nursing home in Bukit Batok, with 29 cases as at Tuesday, and All Saints Home in Jurong East, with 10 cases, have emerged as Covid-19 clusters.
On Wednesday, the Agency for Integrated Care urged seniors to stay home as much as possible and to get their Covid-19 booster shots if eligible.
The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination had recommended that people aged 60 and above should receive their booster shots six to nine months after the initial two doses.
Seniors can choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine for their booster shot, but they will have to make an appointment at the site offering their preferred vaccine, said a Raffles Medical spokesman.
"Mixing of the two mRNA brands between the primary vaccination course of two doses and the booster is allowed."