COVID-19 vaccination exercise begins for more than 50,000 taxi and private rental drivers

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SINGAPORE: More than 50,000 taxi and private hire drivers will be able to make appointments for their COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week, as Singapore progresses with its national immunization program.

By the end of this week, active drivers will gradually receive a text message with a link to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (February 23).

They can choose to take the vaccines at any of the vaccination centers, polyclinics or public health preparedness clinics that function as vaccination sites, LTA said.

The vaccination exercise is a joint effort of the LTA and the Department of Health, supported by the National Taxi Association (NTA) and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) as well as taxi and private hire operators.

Vaccination efforts for the point-to-point transport sector began on Tuesday, with around 300 drivers receiving their first dose at the site of the former Hong Kah High School in Jurong West. The former school site is now used as a vaccination center.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the center, State Transport Minister Amy Khor said the exercise was part of efforts to provide vaccinations to around 80,000 ground transport workers in order to ” strengthen the resilience of essential transport services ”.

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“As of February 14, more than 14,000 public transport workers had received the first dose of vaccination. And among them, more than 10,000 of these workers received the second dose of their vaccination, thus completing the full vaccination regimen, ”said Dr Khor, also a member of Parliament for Hong Kah North.

READ: COVID-19 vaccination begins for ground transport sector with jabs to offer 80,000 workers

READ: More than 52,000 transport workers received first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

She noted that the leaders of the NTA and NPHVA – who are themselves drivers – had set an example by showing up to receive the first dose of their vaccines, as had the senior management of taxi and taxi operators. private rental.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NTA and NPHVA have been working closely with our point-to-point drivers and tripartite partners to provide a safe transportation experience. They maintain good personal hygiene, maintain the cleanliness of their vehicles and apply safe management measures while transporting commuters, ”said National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) director Yeo Wan Ling.

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“Our drivers also want to do their part in Singapore’s vaccination strategy. This decision will further protect them, their families and our commuters, ”said Ms. Yeo, also a member of the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

“Vaccination can give our taxi and (private) drivers greater peace of mind by ensuring their protection and that of their families,” said LTA General Manager Ng Lang.

It will also provide insurance for commuters and contribute to the community’s overall resilience against COVID-19, he added.

READ: Taxi, private rental car drivers to receive $ 133 million in additional support for COVID-19 from January

Ms Tammy Tan, director of corporate communications for the group of taxi giant ComfortDelGro, said the company was happy that drivers were offered vaccines.

“We strongly support the movement and urged our drivers to register – not only for their own health, but also for the safety of passengers and their families,” she said.

Grab Singapore Managing Director Yee Wee Tang said the company will offer drivers an extension of its group extended sick leave insurance policy to cover potential loss of earnings in the event of hospitalization due to side effects of vaccination.

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“We will also continue to engage our driver-partners through our driver app to help them better understand the benefits of vaccination,” said Yee, adding that getting drivers vaccinated is “an important step in helping Singapore through. in recovery mode ”.

Earlier this month, Grab announced plans to have all of its staff, drivers and delivery people in the region vaccinated by the end of next year.

The use of taxis and private rental areas has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, due to a decline in tourism and many homeworkers.

In December, the government announced a S $ 133 million COVID-19 driver relief fund, which will see approximately 52,000 drivers receive S $ 600 per vehicle per month between January and March, and S $ 450 between April and June of this year.

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