One of the leading causes of death in Singapore is pneumonia, claiming more than 4,000 lives each year.
To enable the public to conveniently book pneumococcal vaccination appointments, Open Government Products (OGP) — a division of Government Technology Agency (GovTech) launched the Health Appointment System (HAS) today (29 August).
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB), this pilot government initiative not only allows Singaporeans to book their pneumococcal vaccines across hundreds of participating CHAS General Practitioner(GP) clinics, but also helps clinics facilitate large volumes of appointments without the need for additional administrative manpower.
Despite a quarter of pneumonia cases being easily prevented by the pneumococcal vaccine, a survey of Singapore residents aged between 65 and 74 years old revealed that only 14 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Further interviews with a dozen GPs, clinic assistants, and seniors found that ease of access and convenience in finding a nearby GP clinic with pneumococcal vaccine stock on-hand is one of the key reasons behind the low vaccination rates.
How does the HAS work?
This pilot launch allows any senior above 65 to book their pneumococcal vaccination at CHAS GPs online.
It is encouraged that all seniors aged 65 years old and above receive two types of pneumococcal vaccination for long-term protection against pneumonia.
Adults aged 64 years and below with certain medical conditions are also recommended to receive the vaccine.
HPB will send out a letter to 650,000 seniors between end August and October 2022 which will contain details on the importance of getting protected. The letter will also contain a QR code which eligible seniors can scan to book their vaccines.
As of 22 August 2022, more than half of CHAS GP clinics islandwide — approximately 657 clinics — have already registered for an HAS account and are gradually opening up appointment slots. This solves the issue of accessibility to adequate vaccine supply and available vaccination slots.
Seniors only need to key in their postal code to find the closest clinic and select a suitable timing. Rescheduling can also be done conveniently via the SMS link.
Kenneth Sng, Product Manager for HAS shares: “Seniors should [now] be able to make their pneumococcal vaccination appointment in sixty seconds. Citizens will much less likely have to deal with long lines at clinics, or clinics running out of stock.”
“We hope that HAS will be a catalyst for saving lives, and takes us one step closer to our vision of a society largely free from major vaccine preventable illnesses.”
Featured Image Credit: Open Government Products / SMU Newsroom