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National Covid-19 vaccination programme in spotlight when Parliament sits on Feb 1

SINGAPORE — The national Covid-19 vaccination programme will take the spotlight when Parliament sits on Monday (Feb 1) as 13 Members of Parliament (MPs) are seeking details on its progress, the side effects seen so far, and if priority can be given to would-be travellers.

First day of Covid-19 vaccinations for seniors aged 70 and above at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre on Jan 27, 2021.

First day of Covid-19 vaccinations for seniors aged 70 and above at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre on Jan 27, 2021.

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SINGAPORE — The national Covid-19 vaccination programme will take the spotlight when Parliament sits on Monday (Feb 1) as 13 Members of Parliament (MPs) are seeking details on its progress, the side effects seen so far, and if priority can be given to would-be travellers.

Parliament will also debate amendments to the law to formalise assurances made earlier that the police can use data from the Covid-19 TraceTogether contact tracing programme only in the investigation of serious offences, such as murder, terrorism and rape.

The bill under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, which was first passed last April, is expected to be passed on the same day as the President had signed a Certificate of Urgency for it to be put through all three readings in the same sitting.

Among the MPs who have filed questions about the vaccination programme is MP for Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC) Dennis Tan who is asking if the Government will be reviewing its vaccination strategy in light of a spate of deaths involving seniors in Norway.

More than 30 sickly seniors aged 75 and older had died not long after taking the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is also the only one approved here so far.

The Norwegian government has said that there is no direct link between the deaths and the vaccine, adding that those who died were already seriously ill. 

The vaccination exercise in Singapore for seniors over 70 years old here had kicked off on Jan 27 in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar under a pilot scheme. Some 500 seniors had registered to get the jab on the first day.

MP for Sembawang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) Lim Wee Kiak, MP for Tampines GRC Desmond Choo, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Darryl David, and MP for West Coast GRC Ang Wei Neng asked for an update on the number of individuals who suffered side effects related to the vaccine. Mr David specifically asked how such cases are being managed.

Mr Ang also asked about the kinds of Covid-19 vaccines Singapore has ordered, and how many vaccination centres will be set up in the next six months.

MOH had said on Jan 28 that there have been 432 “adverse event reports” among healthcare professionals who had taken it. Three suffered anaphylaxis involving the rapid onset of severe allergic reactions, but MOH had said that they all had a history of allergies, including allergic rhinitis and food allergy such as to shellfish.

Non-Constituency MP Hazel Poa asked if a vaccination advisory service can be provided to members of the public wishing to clarify if they are suitable for vaccination, given their particular medical conditions such as allergies and past reactions to vaccines.

Meanwhile, five MPs want to know if residents who are required to travel, such as for studies and business, or to visit an ill family member, can be vaccinated earlier.

Yio Chu Kang SMC MP Yip Hon Weng asked if vaccinated travellers can be given special permission to travel to Covid-19 hotspots identified by MOH.

Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera asked when migrant workers are slated to be inoculated against Covid-19 and what will be done to encourage them to take up the vaccinations.

Related topics

Covid-19 Parliament Covid-19 vaccination TraceTogether investigation

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