Retiree Balan Krishnan had heard the rumours of vaccine side effects but he was full of confidence when he arrived at the Teck Ghee Community Club for his first jab on Feb 3.

Once inside, the smooth process only added to his sense that he was making the right move after a hard year of stringent precautions.

Mr Balan, 75, said: “The minute I walked in, I was taken to the injection area. It was quite fast and took about five minutes.

“Afterwards, I rested in the holding area for half an hour, to make sure there were no side effects.”

He was one of about 250,000 people who had received their first injection by Feb 18 while around 110,000 of them have also had their second dose of the vaccine.

The Government commenced islandwide Covid-19 vaccination for those 70 and above on Jan 22 after successful pilots in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar.

About 5,000 seniors from both towns had been vaccinated by Feb 18.

The Sunday Times spoke to 11 seniors who have received both doses, with all reporting no severe side effects and that they were satisfied with the process.

Ang Mo Kio resident Ang Beng Giap, 73, received his first jab on Jan 27 at Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic.

The former service staff member at Marina Bay Sands, who is married with two adult daughters, said: “My kids have grown up, I don’t want them to worry about me.

“I tell others that it’s best to get the vaccine; there’s nothing to be afraid of, nothing will happen to you.”

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He said that the process of getting his second jab on Feb 17 was very fast. He had arrived at 9am and left an hour later.

He said: “I even joked with the staff that I wanted to stay under observation longer, it was so fast.

“I heard that some might get a fever after receiving the vaccine, so I drank more water and stayed at home. Nothing happened to me.”

Medical protocols are in place at all vaccination sites to ensure patient safety and to provide guidance on processes.

Vaccination providers must also undergo training to familiarise themselves with guidelines, protocols and operational workflow before starting operations. The Ministry of Health conducts periodic audits to ensure safety standards.

Arts instructor Jarosani Thevi, 72, and husband Arunachala Thevar Baskaran, 75, had their two shots this month.

Although she had reservations about taking the vaccine, Ms Jarosani said neither of them had any side effects.

She said: “I was introducing something new into my body, so of course I was a little worried. But now that I have taken the vaccine, it feels like I have one less thing to worry about.”

While seniors will not be able to walk in for jabs at any of the vaccination locations, they can register online for an injection after receiving an invitation letter.

The link for registration is vaccine.gov.sg

According to a Ministry of Health press release on Feb 19, seniors will be able to schedule their vaccinations at any of the vaccination centres, 20 polyclinics or 22 Public Health Preparedness Clinics operating as vaccination sites.

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By the middle of next month, 31 vaccination centres will be in operation, with at least one vaccination centre in each town.

After registering, they will get an SMS with a link to book an appointment.

Anyone needing help to make an appointment can bring the invitation letter to community centres and clubs where staff can assist them.

Mr Balan, who received his second dose on Wednesday, is encouraging others to get vaccinated, saying: “The Government is going all out to roll this out to people at no cost at all, and it is concerned about the safety of the people.

“It is up to us to take care of ourselves and others.”

• Additional reporting by Ivan Kwee





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