Youth react to new ‘Test, Trace and Vaccinate’ COVID-19 strategy
The latest measures were announced as part of Singapore’s plan to progressively open up the country.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined Singapore’s latest strategy to fight COVID-19 in his national address on Monday (May 31).
The plan involves speeding up our vaccination rollout, and improving testing and contract tracing efficiency. Starting from Jun 1, students 12-years-old and above can book their vaccination appointment, with priority given to graduating cohorts and special needs students. Young adults 39 years and below will be next in line to receive their vaccination from mid-June.
This is in line with the nation’s goal to vaccinate two-thirds of its residents with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines by early July, and to vaccinate every eligible individual by National Day.
Singapore will also boost its efforts in faster contact tracing and testing with the availability of alternative testing options, including DIY test kits at pharmacies. The measures will be implemented as part of Singapore’s plans to progressively open the country up again.
We spoke to some youths to find out how they felt about the latest measures.
Optimism for the new normal
“I think the new measures would mean getting tested every once in a while at my workplace, before I enter a wedding venue or while visiting a tourist attraction or a mosque. If it helps us in not needing to wear a mask in the future, I would gladly go through multiple testings.
“Breathing on a breathalyser for COVID-19, having a saliva test and the antigen rapid tests (ART) all sound like easy ways of testing for COVID-19. I think frontline workers like migrant labourers and healthcare staff should have access to them first, before the public starts using them for social purposes.
“I’m already fully vaccinated since I work at the airport, but the news does make me happy. More people being vaccinated helps in getting the community numbers low and hopefully, we can all go back to the way it was pre-COVID.” – Syafiqah Idris, 28, Aerospace Engineer
Convenient to get vaccinated during the school holidays
“It is great that youths are able to receive their vaccination now, especially since it is the holidays. This way, students can get vaccinated early without interrupting their preparation for exams or tests. Since recent cases involve more students, it is also crucial to get our youth vaccinated early as they are in close contact with one another in school.
“I think most youths want to get vaccinated quickly and be protected against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Most of us would also want the whole population to be vaccinated early to hopefully lift some of the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place so that we can go out in larger groups and hang out again. Personally, I would like CCA to resume and not have to wear masks everywhere.” – Lee Yi Terng, 18, Student
Measures can help keep families safe
“I think these varied testing options are very convenient for me. Coming from a family of eight with my two parents, an older sister and four younger siblings, it is less of a hassle and more accessible for us to depend on home test kits since we don’t have to amend our personal schedules to go out to be tested.
“I’m also eager to get the vaccine. I’ve been waiting for my turn to get the vaccine since most of the recent cases were around my age group. I felt worried and more apprehensive about going to school, especially since I have younger siblings.
“I feel that immediate isolation is a very reasonable measure. It’s the least we can do to play our part to help stop the spread of the virus. Even before the announcement of this measure, my whole family self-quarantines whenever one of us has to take the swab test. As I’m used to home based learning, I’m supportive of this measure” – Jeslyn Emily Joe, 16, Student
Important for youths to get vaccinated quickly
“I was actually surprised and relieved that students can be vaccinated because when students go back to school, we will all be less vulnerable to getting the virus. With more students getting infected by the virus, it’s important for youths to get vaccinated quickly to lower the number of community cases.”
“I will be willing to book a slot for vaccination when it opens to do my part to fight this pandemic. My family members are fully vaccinated and I can’t wait for my turn to lower the risk of contracting the virus. With everyone doing their part, it will help keep the number of cases low.” – Regina Elmenzo, 19, Student
Creating a safe workplace for companies to run smoothly
“Mass testing at workplaces would affect me in a good way as I see it as a safety measure needed to ensure that workflow is smooth and efficient.
“With mass testing being implemented, I feel that workplaces can function with the peace of mind that they are safe. Yes, there might be a slight inconvenience when going for the tests. However, in the long run companies are able to work smoothly and safely.” – Foo Kar Jun, 21, Polytechnic Graduate
Hopes more students will take the vaccine
“I am already vaccinated with my first dose for now as my school nominated students staying in dorms to get it done. I do think that public perception towards vaccination is generally positive, so I can see why students might feel encouraged to sign up!
“I think it’s a great idea to vaccinate students. I will be staying in hall when school reopens and it’s reassuring to know that my peers would be equally protected. School is also where I spend the majority of my time and being in such close proximity with my friends has always worried me. There were also instances where I would pass by hall mates who were not wearing their masks while on my way to the shower and laundry rooms, which is a great source of worry.
“Although the school has tried to enforce safe management measures, it is inevitable that they cannot be there to monitor constantly and students will try to bend the rules. I wish that not only are more students vaccinated, they also realise the importance of abiding by safe management measures and taking precautions against COVID-19.” – Tan Wen Shan, 21, Undergraduate
Written by Sarah Chan, Suci Khalisa Zulkiflee, Effie Tan