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Covid-19 vaccination rates, post-infection immunity allow some countries to reopen faster than S’pore: Ong Ye Kung, Health News & Top Stories


SINGAPORE – Several countries have eased Covid-19 restrictions more quickly than Singapore due to higher vaccination rates in the population and also due to the number of people developing immunity after being infected, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Tuesday (July 20).

He answered a question about continued restrictions on fully vaccinated individuals in Singapore, which had announced further restrictions in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases here.

During a virtual press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, Mr Ong outlined three reasons why Israel and Britain have recently relaxed measures.

First, they have a higher vaccination rate than Singapore. As on Monday, about 50 percent here received the two shots. The corresponding figures are 61 percent for Israel and 69 percent for Britain.

Second, Mr. Ong noted that these places had undergone “waves of very traumatic broadcasts.”

This means that many people there are recovered Covid-19 patients, who have natural immunity to the virus, he said.

Third, they have very high vaccination rates among their seniors.

“(This) explains why they are much more confident in opening up the economy. And this is also what we need to work towards,” said Mr. Ong.

About 71 percent of seniors 70 and older are vaccinated here. Another 100,000 in this age group have yet to be vaccinated, Mr Ong added.

“They have a high chance of getting seriously ill once they’re infected. Almost every one of them, if they’re infected, will end up in the hospital because they’re at high risk, and 10 to 15 percent of them, based on our experience, will end up in the intensive care unit.”

He added: “In our case, (with) 50 percent fully vaccinated or given two doses, plus 200,000 or more seniors over 60 who have not yet been vaccinated, I think we still have work to do.”

Read next: What you need to know about Singapore’s Covid-19 rules from 22 July 22


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