Singapore will start vaccinating migrant workers against COVID-19 as part of its national immunisation strategy, starting with 10,000 people living in the country's five largest dormitories.
This batch of 10,000 workers have never been infected by COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday, announcing the vaccination programme for the migrant workers.
The migrant workers, which include a huge number of Indians, make up about 90 per cent of Singapore's COVID-19 tally, which stands at 60,046. The death count is 29.
The packed dormitories housing the foreign labourers were the biggest infection clusters during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the island last year.
Infections among the foreign workers have fallen in the past few months, with no new cases reported on most days, according to a report by Channel News Asia.
Workers who have received both doses of the vaccine would be subjected to a lower frequency of testing, ie., every 28 days, instead of the current 14-day cycle, the Channel reported.
Vaccinations will progressively be made available to all other migrant workers, Ministry of Health said.
The ministry said the migrant worker dormitories are where large COVID-19 clusters could "rapidly develop and grow, with a high risk of transmission to the local community".
"Vaccination of migrant workers living in dormitories is thus part of our national COVID-19 vaccination strategy to protect all Singaporeans and long-term residents," it added.
The ministry also announced that later this month it will offer vaccinations to selected cargo drivers and accompanying personnel who enter Singapore from Malaysia via a causeway and a bridge on a regular basis.
"Vaccination will provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19, ensuring that personnel can continue to deliver essential goods to Singapore safely," said the ministry.
Singapore began its COVID-19 vaccination exercise on December 30, 2020, with healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases the first to get the jabs.
About 379,000 people have since received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday, said the Ministry.
Of these, more than 217,000 have received their second dose and completed the full vaccination programme.
On Monday, Singapore reported 13 new imported cases of COVID-19.
The infected persons have been placed on ''stay-home notice'' or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry.
No new locally transmitted infections were reported in the community or among the migrant workers.