Among my family members, a few work in the healthcare and essential service sectors. They were called up quite quickly to get their Covid-19 vaccine jabs. About half my family members have now been vaccinated. I remain among the unjabbed half.
Early last month, I asked my company’s human resources department if there were plans to vaccinate staff, especially journalists who are out covering events and interviewing people. As a columnist whose bread and butter is information and insights, I often meet people face to face. The rapport and information flow are just not the same over WhatsApp chats, a virtual meeting, or by e-mail. The HR folks said they had asked the Government and were awaiting a reply.
I hushed my vaccine envy and got on with life.
Then I took part in a webinar organised by the Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBME) of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. Titled Covid-19 Vaccines: Ethical Issues In Allocation, Administration And Public Acceptance, the panel featured infectious diseases experts such as Professor Paul Tambyah from the National University Hospital, Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and Assistant Professor G. Owen Schaefer from the CBME.
I was on the panel as a member of the National University Health System’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, and also sharing my views as a journalist, on the public policy aspects of the ethical issues in the vaccine roll-out.
Coincidentally, an hour before the webinar began, I got a WhatsApp update from the Ministry of Health that said vaccination will be extended to those in the critical functions of “postmen, delivery staff, news reporters, bank ops”.
My vaccine envy stilled, I am more chuffed that news reporters are included this round, which shows that journalism is considered a critical function in Singapore – a topic for another day.
Meanwhile, I look forward to my colleagues and me getting the vaccine at the proper time.