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Singapore students to receive Covid-19 jab, priority for those taking O, N and A levels

July 23, 2021

Original Article: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/400000-students-to-receive-covid-19-jab-priority-for-those-taking-o-n-and-a-levels

The roll-out of the vaccination drive for younger people here comes amid more cases of children getting infected in schools and tuition centres in the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

A number of schoolchildren have tested positive for the virus over the past month, forcing some schools to switch to home-based learning before nationwide restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the community kicked in on May 16.

Giving an update about Singapore's Covid-19 situation in a televised address, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday: "The children were not seriously ill, but parents are naturally worried. Therefore, we will take advantage of the June holidays to vaccinate students."

More children got the coronavirus this year than in 2020, with over 70 in pre-schools, schools and institutes of higher learning who have tested positive since April 15.

For a start, the exercise will start with about 56,000 students who will be sitting for the N, O, and A level, as well as other equivalent qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate diploma, in the second half of this year.

This is so that they can have greater flexibility in scheduling their vaccination appointments ahead of the upcoming national exams, the MOE said.

Over the next two weeks, invitations for jabs will be progressively extended to other full-time students, including those in madrasahs, special education (Sped) schools and the international arms of Hwa Chong Institution, Anglo-Chinese School and St Joseph's Institution.

The earliest vaccine slots for students will be from Thursday, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said at a virtual press conference on Monday.

For most students, bookings will be conducted via the National Appointment System for vaccinations. But students in ITE and Sped schools will receive instructions directly from their institutions.

Students, or parents and guardians of children under 18, will receive SMSes with a unique link for them to book vaccination appointments at any of the vaccination centres, so they have more flexibility to choose dates and venues in the month of June, the MOE said.

Those aged 18 and above can opt for either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, while those aged between 12 and 17 will be offered only the Pfizer jab as the Moderna jab has not been approved for use with the younger age group.

But only those who are already 12 years old as at June 1 this year can receive the jab, while those whose 12th birthday falls after Tuesday will be invited for vaccination at a later date.

To help parents who have questions and concerns about the vaccines, MOE will be partnering with the Ministry of Health to organise webinars for them, said Mr Chan.

Parental consent is required for those below 18 to get their jabs, and parents or guardians will also have to accompany those below 13 to the vaccination appointments.

Four new vaccination centres

Meanwhile, four dedicated MOE vaccination centres will be set up to support the vaccination roll-out for students.

They include three centres at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College campuses in Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang and Simei, and one at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

The ITE centres will be able to administer 1,600 doses of the vaccine a day, while the Raffles City centre can do 2,000 doses a day.

The ITE will arrange for their students to take their shots on campus, while the Ministry of Health will send mobile vaccination teams to Sped schools to carry out vaccinations for their students who are age 12 and above, as they may find it challenging to visit a vaccination site.

Schools will also look into alternative vaccination arrangements for those who need extra support when schools reopen after the June holidays, including providing transport to the vaccination centres, MOE said.

The entire vaccination exercise for students - which also includes full-time students in continuing education and training programmes, such as those enrolled in master’s programmes - is estimated to be completed by August.

But those who do not make an appointment when offered may take longer to receive their vaccinations, MOE added.

 

Dates for national examinations

PRIMARY SCHOOL LEAVING EXAMINATION

•Oral exams: Aug 12 to 13

•Listening comprehension: Sept 17

•Written exams: Sept 30 to Oct 6

N LEVELS

•Oral exams: July 12 to 16, July 29 to Aug 2

•Listening comprehension: Sept 13 to 14

•Written exams: Sept 15 to Oct 14

O LEVELS

•Oral exams: July 7 to 16, July 22 to Aug 13, Sept 27 to Oct 6

•Listening comprehension: July 6, Oct 11, Oct 13, Oct 15

•Written exams (mother tongue and Chinese/Malay/ Tamil B): May 31 to June 1

•Written exams (other subjects): Oct 8 to Nov 15

A LEVELS

•Oral exams: July 7 to 21, Oct 6, Oct 12 to 14

•Listening comprehension: July 6, Oct 18 to 19, Nov 1

•Written exams (mother tongue and Chinese/Malay/ Tamil B): May 31 to June 1

•Written exams (other subjects): Oct 11 to Dec 3

NOTE: Exact dates will depend on individual subjects taken by students

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