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Unvaccinated govt employees to pay for regular Covid-19 tests from Sept 1

02 August 2021

By The SUN 

Immigration officers getting jabbed: not all have taken this option (File)

Get vaccinated or pay for your regular Covid-19 tests.

This was the message that the government sent out today, Aug 2, to all of its staff, “regardless of their duties, work nature and work place,” whether full time or part-time.


In a press statement, the Civil Service Bureau said all government employees who have not received the first dose of a vaccine must undergo a polymerase chain reaction-based (PCR) tests for Covid-19 using combined nasal and throat swabs at Community Testing Centres every other week.

From Sept. 1, they will have to pay for these tests themselves, and have it done after office hours if they still haven’t taken a single vaccine jab. The only ones exempted from the order are those who are able to present a medical certificate showing they are unfit to receive a vaccine because of medical conditions.

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CVCs charge $240 for each PCR test for Covid-19.

“All government employees have an obligation to get vaccinated. It is also their responsibility of contributing to a healthy working environment and not posing themselves as a risk to co-workers and the public," the statement said.


But, it added government staff can still choose whether to get vaccinated or not.

“The claim that government employees are forced to receive vaccination is misleading and unfounded,” added the statement.


The statement said 70% of all government employees have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccination in lieu of tests has been implemented since May 31 for frontline staff who are regularly involved in enforcement, inspection and investigation duties and have frequent and close contact with members of the public, or are involved in high risk duties. It was expanded to cover all frontline government employees from July 19.

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But on several occasions recently, the government had said it was considering requesting staff who who have not received vaccination on non-medical reasons to undertake regular testing at their own expense.

"Ample time has been provided for government employees to receive vaccination and the arrangement of vaccination leave has also been introduced a few months ago,” said the statement.

"If individual government employees choose not to receive vaccination out of personal choice but not medical reasons, it is unreasonable for the government to expend public money on their PCR tests for a long period of time,” added the statement. “It is neither justifiable nor in line with the principle of effective use of resources.”

“Moreover, it is not fair to those who have been vaccinated to have to shoulder the work of those who choose not to do so when the latter leave the office during the office hours to undergo PCR tests."
Government employees who are unfit to receive a vaccine due to medical conditions may still avail of free Covid-19 tests and have these done during work house, provided that departmental operations are not affected.

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