The Singaporean Government has begun to charge COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice since December 8.
In an interview granted to the Wall Street Journal, Singapore’s Health Ministry spokesman said the new policy “reflects a civic and moral duty each of us have to ourselves and people around us, during exceptional times like a pandemic crisis.”
The spokesman said that unvaccinated people who fall ill will still receive government support for treatment, even though the government won’t automatically cover their full COVID-19 treatment costs as it did before.
Hospital bills for COVID-19 patients in intensive care wards who receive COVID-19 therapeutics often run to about 18,000 USD, according to the spokesman.
But the Health Ministry says that means-tested government subsidies for health care and the country’s national health insurance programme would significantly defray costs, and can reduce the bill to about 1,500 USD to 3,000 USD.
Singapore has already achieved one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, with 96 percent of its eligible population—which excludes categories such as young children—fully vaccinated, according to the government.
In early November, the Singapore government said that about 95 percent of deaths over the past six months were of people 60 or older, with 72 percent of deaths occurring among those who hadn’t been fully vaccinated.