60 unvaccinated seniors get Covid-19 every day, six likely to end up in ICU

SINGAPORE – Each day, 60 unvaccinated seniors are getting infected from Covid-19, with six of them likely to need intensive care, Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary told Parliament on Monday (Nov 1).

He described how Covid-19 continues to affect the unvaccinated disproportionately, especially the elderly.

Furthermore, the unvaccinated are more at risk of getting reinfected. Up till mid-August, there were 32 reinfection cases, and all of them were unvaccinated, said Dr Janil in a ministerial statement, in which he gave an update on the capacity of hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) here.

Unvaccinated seniors who have underlying medical conditions are at much greater risk of severe illness and death, he said.

Close to 95 per cent of those who died in the last six months were those aged 60 and above, and 72 per cent of all deceased cases had not been fully vaccinated. Almost all of the remaining 26 per cent who were fully vaccinated suffered from underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart, lung or kidney diseases.

As at Sunday, 407 people have died from Covid-19 here.

“Underlying conditions add risks, even if the conditions are well-controlled before the patient encounters Covid-19, especially if the patient is elderly,” explained Dr Janil.

“The risks of being unvaccinated are high. Compared to the vaccinated, someone who is 60 years old and above and unvaccinated is six times more likely to need oxygen, eight times more likely to become critically ill and need the ICU, and 17 times more likely to die.”

He added that the booster dose has helped to reduce severe illness among the vaccinated elderly, but the unvaccinated continue to be at risk.

Those unvaccinated are also at higher risk of long-term effects of the disease.

Dr Janil cited a study from Britain that found that those who are vaccinated are half as likely to continue having symptoms about a month after Covid-19 infection than those who are not vaccinated.

Although there is no conclusive information yet about the long-term health consequences of Covid-19, a study by the National Centre for Infectious Diseases found that one in 10 infected patients who recovered continued to display symptoms such as coughing or breathlessness six months later, he added.

As at last week, 68,000 seniors remain unvaccinated.

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