A mass exercise to vaccinate 37,000 front-line workers in the aviation and maritime sectors in Singapore began yesterday, paving the way for a revival of the flagging airline industry.
The Singapore government also urged workers at its national airline to help make it the world's first carrier with all staff vaccinated against COVID-19, with Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Phong Choon also encouraging employees to receive shots.
A vaccination centre set up at Changi Airport Terminal 4 can administer 4,000 shots a day, according to experts.
"We have 27 vaccination stations, so based on a conservative planning norm of 12 patients per hour and 14 hours of operations per day, I am fairly confident we can do 4,000 vaccinations, if not more. (We have) the ability to scale up further if the nation calls for it," Dr Tan Joo Peng, the Raffles Medical Group vaccination centre's lead physician, told reporters.
Vaccinating Singapore's 37,000 frontline aviation and maritime staff is seen as key to reopening borders of the island-state, which is preparing to host events such as the World Economic Forum's annual meeting and the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit in a few months' time.
Singapore Airlines (SIA), in which state investor Temasek is the biggest shareholder, said last year it had cut 4,300 jobs, or around 20% of its staff.
"SIA (Singapore Airlines) can be the first vaccinated international airline of the world. Try to get that done," Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told aviation workers at the vaccination drive.
About 13,000 workers have registered to get their first dose of the vaccine this week and the exercise is set to be completed within two months, he added.