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'Disconnect between perception and realities of Covid-19': Survey finds Singapore residents split on need for booster shots

'Disconnect between perception and realities of Covid-19': Survey finds Singapore residents split on need for booster shots
The survey found that more Singapore residents, especially those above 60, now see Covid-19 as a low or very low risk to their health.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Residents in Singapore are split on the need to get Covid-19 booster shots, a recent survey has revealed.

And more people, especially those older than 60, now see the virus as a low health risk.

These were among the findings of a survey by biotechnology company Moderna and market research company YouGov, which aimed to get a sense of Singapore residents' attitudes towards Covid-19 vaccinations compared to other healthy habits.

It found that 49 per cent of the 1,256 respondents felt that getting an updated Covid-19 shot is necessary, while 51 per cent believed otherwise.

When asked how they viewed Covid-19, over 43 per cent of respondents over 60 years old see it as a low or very low risk to their health, according to the findings that were released on Wednesday (April 24) in conjunction with World Immunisation Week.

This is a 10 per cent dip from last year, Moderna and YouGov said in a statement, adding that only 33.4 per cent had a similar view then.

Those aged 60 and above are among the most vulnerable to being exposed to a Covid-19 infection, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement in September 2021.

"These survey results highlight that there is still a disconnect between the public perception and realities of Covid-19," Evelyn Pang, general manager of Moderna Singapore, said.

"As a community, we must prioritise healthy habits and ensure that vaccinations are a part of those so we can continue to safeguard our daily lives from diseases such as Covid-19."

Those aged 35 to 44 most hesitant to get boosters

When Lianhe Zaobao visited a Covid-19 Joint Testing and Vaccination Centre in Woodlands, the reporter observed that only a handful of people were there to get a booster shot.

A staff member there said that apart from a couple of children, the centre is almost empty every day.

In a statement in February this year, MOH said that individuals who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 should receive two initial vaccine shots at an interval of eight weeks apart.

An additional Covid-19 dose of an updated vaccine for 2024 is also recommended for individuals aged six months and above, especially healthcare workers, as well as caregivers and those who live with medically vulnerable people.

Ma Xiaoyi (transliteration), 49, who works in the catering industry, told Zaobao that she has received three rounds of vaccination so far.

"If Covid-19 has become like a flu, it might not be necessary for everyone to be vaccinated — just the elderly, children or individuals with existing conditions."

Cai Zimo (transliteration), a 27-year-old student at Nanyang Technological University who has also been vaccinated three times said: "I'm not too sure about the risks of getting Covid-19, but it seems like there's no other way than to get vaccinated."

The survey found that respondents aged 35 to 44 are the most hesitant in getting a Covid-19 booster shot, and less likely to recommend the vaccine to their family and friends.

Dr Leong Choon Kit, a family physician at Mission Medical Clinic, said: "It worries me that so many people have become complacent, despite Covid-19 still posing a threat and a significant risk to many vulnerable people across our community."

ALSO READ: Hospitalised thrice in 2024: 9-year-old boy in Singapore suffers Covid-19, myocarditis and stroke

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