Singapore

Ensuring safety of vaccination is a ‘complex situation’: Minister

Safety must be ensured for people receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, including having a proper queuing and registration system and ensuring their data is captured accurately, all of which has a bearing on how quickly vaccinations can be rolled out, Parliament heard yesterday.

"So it is quite a complex situation," said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in response to Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC), who had expressed his view that the nationwide vaccination effort should be rolled out more quickly.

In his ministerial statement on Singapore's response to the pandemic, Mr Gan acknowledged that many questions have been raised on vaccine safety and efficacy.

"Let me assure you that the safety and well-being of Singaporeans is top priority in our vaccination efforts," he said.

In response to Mr Melvin Yong (Radin Mas), who had asked if there is any data to show that existing vaccines are effective against the new, more transmissible strain of the coronavirus from Britain, Mr Gan added that there is currently no evidence that shows they are not.

Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have publicly stated that their vaccines are likely to protect against the new strain and are undertaking studies to formally confirm this.

Mr Gan also detailed the rigorous review process that Covid-19 vaccines have to undergo before being approved for use here. First, they are studied by experts from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) under the Pandemic Special Access Route. The vaccines are held up against strict international standards of quality, safety and efficacy.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine underwent this process before being authorised for use, while the Moderna and Sinovac vaccines are being reviewed.

Following HSA's approval, the independent expert committee appointed by the Ministry of Health also reviewed clinical data on the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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coronavirus