Mediacorp’s latest BIG READ story on migrant workers still being confined in dormitories (available on both TODAYonline and Channel NewsAsia) gave a newish figure of 275,000 as the population of migrant workers in dormitories. This is nearly 50,000 below the figure of 323,000 commonly used about a year ago during the severest part of the lockdown.
It is a reduction of about 15%.
It parallels the overall reduction in the numbers of Work Permit holders in the construction, marine and process (CMP) sectors, which declined by about 16 percent, or 60,000 workers, between the end of 2019 (370,000) and 2020 (311,000).
The source of this 275,000 figure as the current dorm population is not very solid. It’s an extrapolation from a figure first stated in the Straits Times on 8 June 2021:
About one-fifth of migrant workers living in dormitories have been fully vaccinated. As at May 31, these 55,000 workers have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Tuesday (June 8).
— Straits Times, 8 June 2021, One in five migrant workers in dorms fully vaccinated against Covid-19: MOM.
In checking with MOM, Mediacorp asked if they could use a multiple of five from the figure of 55,000 fully vaccinated (i.e. 275,000) and apparently MOM told them it was “OK” to say “about 275,000”.
About 45% fully vaccinated by now
The second paragraph for the 8 June Straits Times story is now worth re-reading. It said:
Another 67,000 have been vaccinated with one dose, with their second dose scheduled to be administered six to eight weeks from the first dose, added the MOM spokesman in response to queries from The Straits Times.
As of late July, it’s been about seven weeks since the Straits Times story of 8 June. Thus, it means (assuming there was no stalling of the vaccination programme for dorm-based workers) that by now about 122,000 of them (55,000 + 67,000) would have been fully vaccinated. This would represent nearly 45 percent of dorm residents.
It should be noted that those who had previously recovered from Covid-19 would need only one dose of the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna. Those who had not be infected would get two doses.