Singapore (VNA) Singapore’s Ministry of Health on August 18 announced that the country will give free COVID-19 vaccines to short-term pass holders who have been in Singapore for an extended period of time under the national vaccination programme.

Those eligible are short-term work pass and special pass holders, such as those on training employment passes, training work permits and work holiday passes.

The vaccine is also extended to short-term visit pass holders who have been in Singapore for at least 60 days continuously, many of whom were unable to return home because of global travel restrictions amid the pandemic.

The ministry said in a statement on August 18 that while their stay in Singapore is temporary, vaccinating this group will strengthen the nation's resilience against the coronavirus.

Many people from this group who frequently interact with the public would have had to undergo regular testing if they were unvaccinated, it said.

All eligible short-term work pass and special pass holders can walk into any vaccination centre, except for polyclinics and participating public health preparedness clinics, to receive their first jab without a prior appointment. Short-term visit pass holders will have to make an appointment first before proceeding to a vaccination site. Those eligible who have valid phone numbers registered with the Government will be contacted by the ministry to book an appointment.

While COVID-19 vaccinations are free for eligible short-term pass holders, the ministry said they will not qualify for the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance programme. They will have to pay the prevailing rate for any medical bills they incur after their vaccination.

The ministry added that as of the end of August 16, 76 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated./.