Singapore

Get vaccinated even if number of community cases is low: Gan Kim Yong

Singaporeans should protect themselves from Covid-19 by getting vaccinated even if the number of community cases is low, as the next outbreak could be "just one infection away", said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

Urging citizens not to be complacent about the virus not widely circulating and to take the vaccine when it becomes available to them, he said: "We must always be prepared that there will be new waves of infections."

Having a population that is extensively inoculated would help the country guard against new waves of infections, he said.

"(It will also) allow us to continue to progress towards returning to normalcy in our community and our economy," he said.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

At the same time, it would pave the way for Singapore to reopen its travel routes.

"International travel has ground to a halt almost because of... border controls, and with vaccination, it will allow many of these travel routes to be reconnected and (will) allow Singapore to be reconnected back to the rest of the world," noted Mr Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

He was speaking to reporters at the kick-off of Singapore's Covid-19 vaccination exercise, with the first Pfizer-BioNTech jabs administered to healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

Other healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the coming weeks.

Asked about concerns over the safety of the vaccine, Mr Gan said it has met the requirements of the World Health Organisation, the Health Sciences Authority and other regulatory agencies.

He acknowledged that the long-term effects of the vaccine remain unknown, given that the vaccine has been available only for a few months.

"We are continuing to observe and monitor the data that is emerging... there are precautions put in place, and the vaccines have met all the safety and efficacy requirements for them to be deployed," he added.

coronavirus