SINGAPORE - Individuals who want to get their Covid-19 vaccinations at polyclinics here will now have to book an appointment to do so.
This is to allow the 23 polyclinics here to better handle patients with pressing healthcare needs, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (July 22).
The past two weeks have seen a significant increase in the daily average number of patients with acute respiratory infection - from Covid-19 as well as other infections - at the polyclinics, the ministry noted.
"Only seniors aged 80 years and above can continue to walk-in to receive their vaccinations," it added.
Instead, the public is encouraged to go to one of the 10 joint testing and vaccination centres across the island for their vaccinations. No appointments are needed for these visits.
Meanwhile, adult emergency departments at public hospitals handled an average of about 2,500 patients per day over the past two weeks, up from the usual average daily load of about 2,000, MOH said.
Meanwhile, the children's emergency departments at KK Women's and Children's Hospital and National University Hospital each saw an average of about 680 patients daily over the last two weeks, up from the usual average of around 450 per day.
About 40 per cent of these instances did not require emergency care, MOH said, adding that such cases at emergency departments divert medical care away from those who genuinely require urgent medical attention.
It urged public to only seek medical treatment at hospital emergency departments for serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, breathlessness and uncontrollable bleeding.
"This allows those with severe illness in need of emergency care to be attended to quickly and helps to preserve our hospital capacity for those who truly need acute hospital care," MOH said.
It added that while the greater attendance and longer wait times at emergency departments and polyclinics may frustrate some patients and their families, they should treat healthcare workers with respect, and not harass or abuse them.