SINGAPORE: When Secondary 4 pupil Salwa Taib Ali first heard concerning the COVID-19 vaccination train for students aged 12 and above, she instantly informed her mother and father that she want to join for it.
“I was really excited because I would be able to play my part in ensuring that the COVID-19 situation in Singapore does not … deteriorate,” she informed CNA.
The Ngee Ann Secondary School pupil was among the many first students aged 12 and above to obtain a primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday (Jun 3). Bookings for vaccination slots opened on Tuesday.
“I was also really happy, especially because I’m taking my O-Levels this year. I was pretty stressed out because I was really scared I would contract COVID-19, or any of my friends or peers would contract COVID-19,” mentioned 15-year-old Salwa.
“So when the vaccination (exercise) was announced, and students were allowed to take it, I was really excited and the first thing I did was to tell my parents to book me for the first slot available.”
The Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced on May 31 that greater than 400,000 students can be progressively invited to register for vaccinations from Jun 1, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was accepted in May by the Health Sciences Authority for these aged 12 to fifteen years.
The invitations have been first despatched out to students or mother and father of students in graduating cohorts from secondary colleges and at pre-university ranges, or students sitting for the GCE N-, O- or A-Level examinations later this 12 months.
In a Facebook put up on Thursday night, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing mentioned greater than 9,000 students have “booked appointments to receive the first dose of vaccination against COVID-19 today”.
(*12*) he mentioned, including that eligible students shall be notified by way of SMS invites till Jun 13.
Mr Chan additionally urged mother and father to signal their baby up for vaccination once they obtain the invite.
Secondary 5 pupil Philicia Geow was a type of who obtained an invitation to register for vaccination.
“Being in the graduating cohort this year, we’re doing our national exams soon, and being able to have the priority this time instead of having to get our vaccinations during our national exams is something that I’m pretty grateful for,” mentioned Philicia.
The CHIJ Katong Convent pupil has three siblings, two of whom are additionally within the age vary to obtain jabs as a part of the vaccination train for students. Philicia will obtain her first dose on Monday at a group centre close to her house.
“I’m looking forward to, hopefully, the restrictions getting more lenient … I feel like this vaccination is a big milestone for not only our country but for the whole world as well,” she mentioned.
“I’m really looking forward to the entire world, or even just our country, being able to overcome this challenge of the pandemic, because I’m really looking forward to being able to just go out without wearing a mask and being able to meet people again.”
“REALLY FAST, PROMPT AND EASY”
Speaking to CNA hours after receiving her jab, Salwa mentioned the injection went “way better than expected”, and that the method was “really fast, prompt and easy”. She did not expertise any unintended effects shortly after the jab.
Adding that she is trying ahead to returning to highschool for face-to-face lessons when extra students are vaccinated, she mentioned: “With the increasing number of people taking vaccines, I hope that (we can have) more face-to-face lessons, which will also help.”
She additionally hopes to renew PE lessons and different mass college actions, which needed to be cancelled because of the rising variety of COVID-19 group instances.
“Many of these are things that my friends and I like to do together. So I hope that with the increased number of students and my friends taking the vaccine, I hope that we’ll be able to resume these activities once again.”
Over the following two weeks, the remaining full-time students in colleges and institutes of upper studying will obtain invites to register for vaccinations, mentioned the Education Ministry.
These embrace privately-funded colleges, madrasahs and particular schooling colleges, mentioned MOE on May 31. Privately-funded colleges comprise Anglo-Chinese School (International), St Joseph’s Institution International High School and Hwa Chong International School.
Students who’re enrolled in personal schooling establishments, reminiscent of worldwide colleges, can register as a part of the nationwide vaccination train, which is separate from the one for students, mentioned MOE in response to CNA queries. Children who’re house schooled may register as a part of the nationwide vaccination train.
“If supplies continue to arrive as scheduled, the national vaccination exercise will be rolled out to the rest of the age-eligible population by mid-June 2021, starting with Singapore citizens,” added the Education Ministry.
Students below 18 years old will only be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, while those aged 18 and above can opt for either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. The interval between the first and second dose will be six to eight weeks.
The Education Ministry said it has conducted two webinars to address parents’ concerns and queries about the safety of the vaccines.
“Our schools will also work closely with parents to encourage students and their parents to sign-up for the vaccination. Parents should also consult their family doctors if they have questions pertaining to the suitability of the vaccination for their children,” the ministry added.
Eligible students can get vaccinated at group vaccination centres. There will even be 4 devoted MOE vaccination centres arrange at Raffles City Convention Centre, ITE College Central, ITE College East and ITE College West, mentioned MOE.
Each ITE centre can have as much as 1,600 vaccination slots per day, which is “comparable” to the number of slots at community vaccination centres, while Raffles Convention Centre will have up to 2,000 slots per day, the ministry added.
The vaccination exercise for students is expected to be completed by August, MOE said on May 31.
Hearing that students her age would be able to register to get vaccinated was a “pleasant surprise”, said Secondary 4 student Julia Ho, adding that she had expected those in her age group to be among the last to get vaccinated.
Seeing the increasing number of COVID-19 infections involving students over the past few weeks was “slightly worrying”, said the Nanyang Girls’ High School student. She will be getting her first dose of the vaccine on Monday.
“The first thought that really came to me at that point in time was that if the majority of us in schools get vaccinated, then I think it would definitely create a much safer environment for all of us … where we can learn in peace without having to worry as much about the virus spreading among us in schools,” she said.
“I think it really brings this sense of hope that we can resume to what school was like two years ago – where we could have things such as mass assemblies, mass celebrations like Chinese New Year celebrations or Teachers’ Day in person as a school – which I think really adds that human touch to the school experience.”
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