Singapore

More than 6 in 10 eligible pupils in special education schools sign up for Covid-19 vaccination


SINGAPORE – About 3,900 children aged six to 11 in special education (Sped) schools have been invited to take the Covid-19 vaccination.

Of these, more than six in 10 have signed up to do so, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Wednesday (Jan 12).

Vaccination for pupils in these schools began on Wednesday, with mobile vaccination teams from the Health Promotion Board (HPB) deployed to four Sped schools, including APSN Katong School, to give the children their shots.

The exercise will progressively be rolled out to all 20 Sped schools with eligible pupils, said MOE.

Deputy director of HPB’s Student Health Centre Premila Hirubalan told The Straits Times that the healthcare workers deployed are experienced in giving shots to children in Sped schools. They had given vaccination jabs to the children during annual routine health screenings, as well as during the Covid-19 vaccination exercise for those aged 12 and above in the schools in June and July 2021.

The board has also put in place steps to help smoothen the vaccination process for pupils in Sped schools.

For instance, up to two caregivers are allowed to accompany the child from registration and screening to administration of vaccine and observation, said Dr Hirubalan.

She said: “For the vaccination exercise in Sped schools, the team prepared a student journey graphic guide and photos of our staff’s uniform to be shared with the parent and child before vaccination, so that they can have a better idea of what and who to expect during vaccination.”

The healthcare workers will also explain each step of the vaccination procedure to both the children and their parents in simple terms to ensure that the children are ready to receive the shots, Dr Hirubalan said.

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She added: “We also give sufficient time for the child to relax before he or she is ready to be vaccinated. If the child needs time to calm down, he or she can take a rest at the designated ‘cool down’ area.”

Together with school staff and parents, the team will try to cater to each child’s unique needs, she said.

Ahead of the vaccination exercise, MOE and the Health Ministry organised two parent webinars on Dec 29 last year and Jan 6 to address questions from parents of pupils enrolled in these schools.

Said MOE: “Vaccination will help to protect our children against serious side-effects of Covid-19. We strongly encourage parents or guardians to get their child or ward vaccinated if they are medically eligible.”



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