Singapore’s Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said that COVID-19 vaccine safety and benefits will be comprehensively communicated to migrant workers in the country in order to encourage them to take up the vaccine when it is made available for them.
“I can share that the vaccination efforts will be accompanied by a comprehensive communication campaign to inform migrant workers of the safety and benefits of the vaccine,” he said in Parliament on Monday (1 February).
He added, “The common side effects and risks of allergic reactions will also be explained. Communication with the migrant workers will be done through videos, pamphlets and booklets in their native languages.”
Dr Tan said this in reply to questions asked by Workers’ Party (WP) MP Leon Perera who wanted to know the timeline of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for migrant workers, as well as what measures will be taken to encourage them to take up the vaccines.
The Second Minister went on to note that migrant workers living in dormitories will be vaccinated by the end of this year, just like the rest of the people in Singapore.
The workers, who are among the priority groups for vaccination, will be inoculated based on the risk level of the dorms they are staying in, with those at higher risk to be given the jabs first, explained Dr Tan.
“As part of the national COVID-19 vaccination strategy to protect all Singaporeans citizens and long-term pass holders living in Singapore, vaccination will be made available to migrant workers.
“The communal living and working conditions of migrant workers in dormitories puts them at higher risk of infection and the formation of large cluster,” the politician said.
As for when the migrant workers will be inoculated, Dr Tan said: “Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is working out the schedule and details with Ministry of Health (MOH), depending on delivery schedule for vaccines,” adding that an announcement about it will be made when ready.
Dr Tan also noted that vaccinating migrant workers will help to decrease the viral load, which will then reduce the overall risk and help protect the community from an outbreak.
“This will also reduce the potential load on our healthcare workers and facilities,” he added.
In December last year, the MOH and MOM revealed that 152,794 migrant workers have been infected with the highly contagious virus, or 47 percent of 323,000 workers residing in dorms here.
Only those whose results come out positive on the polymerase chain reaction test are included in Singapore’s case count, as per the World Health Organisation’s criteria.
As of Monday, migrant workers make up some 91.6 percent of Singapore’s 59,536 overall COVID-19 cases.