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15-year-old Erin Rae Yeo receiving her Covid-19 vaccination at Bishan Community Club on June 3, 2021. — Singapore Ministry of Education pic via TODAY
15-year-old Erin Rae Yeo receiving her Covid-19 vaccination at Bishan Community Club on June 3, 2021. — Singapore Ministry of Education pic via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, June 3 — Jerlyn Tang, an 18-year-old student from Anderson Serangoon Junior College, was relieved at how easy and painless her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination was.

“My fear of cuts was more daunting than the actual vaccination process,” said Tang, who was accompanied to the vaccination centre, at Bishan Community Club, by her mother today.

“The staff distracted me a bit and the jab was not bad,” she told TODAY.

“It was a smooth process. Waiting time was less than 10 minutes.”

Tang, who is taking her A-Level examinations this year, was among the first students in Singapore to receive the Covid-19 vaccination after the national programme was extended to schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).

Graduating students at the secondary and pre-university levels taking their GCE O-, N- and A- Level examinations in the latter half of the year were the first to be invited to sign up for vaccination slots from Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) extended vaccinations to students and will be working with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to cover more than 400,000 students from schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) as part of its national vaccination exercise.

In the next two weeks, invitations will also be extended to other groups of students in schools and IHLs including privately-funded schools, madrasahs and special education schools.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for use in children aged 12 and above.

Individuals aged 18 and above can opt for either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccination will be made available for students at community vaccination centres.

Additionally, there will also be four MOE vaccination centres that will be operating from June 7. They are at: ITE College Central, ITE College East, ITE College West and Raffles City Convention Centre.

All the students TODAY interviewed at Bishan Community Club today said that the vaccination process was smooth and the waiting time to get the jab was shorter than they had expected.

Caedmon Koh, 18, a student from Dunman High School, who will be sitting for his GCE A-Level examinations this year, said that he was concerned about possible serious side effects after getting his jab and feared this could affect his revision for the national examination.

However, Koh added: “But what’s more important than protecting myself and the people around me?”

Susan Foon who accompanied her 18-year-old daughter, Foon Yi Peng, to get her jab, said that her daughter’s first year at Anglo-Chinese Junior College last year had been disrupted by the pandemic.

As a result, the 52-year-old home-maker did not want her daughter to face any possible disruptions this year, such as contracting Covid-19, especially when she will be sitting for her GCE A-Level examinations.

Erin Rae Yeo, 15, a GCE O-Level candidate this year from Xinmin Secondary School said that she wanted to take the vaccine to protect herself and the people around her and help to achieve the end goal of herd immunity.

She added: “I urge every one of us to go and take the vaccines so we can create this safe environment in our schools and for Singapore in general.”

MOE has said that while the Covid-19 vaccination is not compulsory, medically eligible students are encouraged to be vaccinated when the vaccine is made available to them.

The ministry added: “This is our way of protecting not just our students and education institutions, but also their families and the wider community.”

TODAY has asked MOE for the numbers of students registered and vaccinated so far. — TODAY

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