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Appointments needed for COVID-19 vaccination at polyclinics as acute respiratory infection cases rise

Public hospital emergency departments have also seen a rise in the number of patients daily, though about 40 per cent of them did not require emergency care.

Appointments needed for COVID-19 vaccination at polyclinics as acute respiratory infection cases rise

The COVID-19 vaccine being administered at Kolam Ayer Community Club, Singapore on Apr 21, 2021. (File photo: CNA/Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: Appointments will now be needed for people who wish to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations at polyclinics, which have been seeing more cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI).

Only seniors aged 80 and above can continue to walk in to receive their vaccinations at the polyclinics, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (Jul 22).

Over the past two weeks, daily average cases of ARI, from both COVID-19 and other infections, have increased significantly at polyclinics, said the ministry.

"To preserve our polyclinics’ capacity for patients with pressing healthcare needs, individuals who wish to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations at the polyclinics will now have to book an appointment," it added.

Eligible individuals may also visit any of the 10 Joint Testing and Vaccination Centres (JTVCs) located across Singapore for their vaccinations.

Appointments are not needed at these centres, said MOH.


Public hospitals are also seeing more patients recently amid a COVID-19 wave driven by Omicron variants.

Over the past two weeks, adult emergency departments at public hospitals handled about 2,500 patients a day on average, compared to the usual average load of about 2,000 daily, MOH said.

Across the children’s emergency departments at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the National University Hospital, there were on average about 680 patients a day over the last two weeks, up from the usual average load of about 450 a day.

Of these emergency department cases, about 40 per cent did not require emergency care, said MOH.

"Such cases at the emergency departments divert medical care away from patients who genuinely require emergency medical attention," the ministry added.

"As such, we would like to remind the public to only seek medical treatment at hospital emergency departments for serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, breathlessness and uncontrollable bleeding.

"This allows those with severe illness in need of emergency care to be attended to quickly and helps to preserve our hospital capacity for those who truly need acute hospital care."

The ministry acknowledged that higher loads and longer wait times at the emergency departments and polyclinics may frustrate some patients and families, but reminded members of the public to treat healthcare workers with respect and not to harass or abuse them.

"Our healthcare workers continue to work very hard to ensure that patients receive the medical care they need," said MOH. 


MOH also announced that the Novavax/Nuvaxovid vaccine will be offered at Jurong Polyclinic and Yishun Polyclinic from Aug 12.

The two polyclinics currently offer Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccinations to people looking to get their second dose or booster shot, and will continue to do so until Aug 5.

Eligible individuals who wish to receive the Novavax/Nuvaxovid vaccine may also continue to do so at the JTVC in Bishan as well as 20 Public Health Preparedness Clinics.

"We encourage everyone to take their vaccination and boosters as soon as they become eligible, to stay protected from severe COVID-19 infection," said MOH. 

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Source: CNA/fh (jo)