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COVID-19 vaccination advisory for workplaces being reviewed, with view to 'drive up' rates: MOM

COVID-19 vaccination advisory for workplaces being reviewed, with view to 'drive up' rates: MOM
People wait at a vaccination centre in Singapore. (File photo: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor)

SINGAPORE: The advisory on COVID-19 vaccination for workplaces is being reviewed, as authorities look into driving up vaccination rates to keep workplaces safe, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Aug 19).

Under the current advisory, "employers may require COVID-19 vaccination as a company policy for settings with higher risk of exposure to COVID-19", it added.

"In light of the (COVID-19 multi-ministry task force) announcements on the vaccinate or regular test regime in selected sectors, the tripartite partners are reviewing the advisory, with a view to further drive up vaccination rates so that our workplaces remain safe," said a spokesperson for MOM. 

"We are finalising the updated advisory which will be issued soon."

The statement was in response to CNA's query following Jetstar Asia's announcement that it will require all employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct 1.

The carrier said the move is part of its "commitment to safety" and was "in line with the guidance by the Singapore Government".

Singapore Airlines (SIA) also gave details of its employee vaccination policy on Wednesday, saying frontline staff for the airline and its budget arm Scoot need to be fully vaccinated by Sep 1 and Dec 1 respectively.

"This is in line with the prevailing advisory from Singapore’s tripartite partners," said an SIA spokesperson in response to CNA's queries.

Current guidelines, issued by MOM in an advisory on Jul 2, state that employers should not make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory. This is in line with the national vaccination policy.

But it added that there is a "small and exceptional number of employment settings" where some employees may be exposed to a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. This include aircrew, laboratory employees working on COVID-19 and frontline maritime employees. 

Employees who decline to get the vaccine should be redeployed to "another job with lower risk of COVID-19 infection", the ministry said.

"Employees who decline vaccination should not be penalised such as having their employment terminated on the ground of declining vaccination."

As of Tuesday, 77 per cent of Singapore's population have completed the full vaccination regime or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 82 per cent has received at least one dose.

Singapore has reported a total of 66,334 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, with 46 fatalities.

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Source: CNA/ga(rw)