Singapore

More vaccines to arrive in coming months, including by Moderna

More vaccines are expected to arrive in Singapore in the next few months, including those by American biotechnology company Moderna and China's Sinovac, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

The Republic received its first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine last month.

Mr Gan said in Parliament that there will be enough Covid-19 vaccines for everyone in Singapore by the third quarter of this year if all goes according to schedule.

"The vaccines will arrive in Singapore in batches, given high global demand especially from countries with high rates of infection," he said.

Pharmaceutical companies will also need time to scale up vaccine production and distribution, Mr Gan added in his ministerial statement on the Covid-19 situation here.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine against the coronavirus that has been approved for use in Singapore.

The nation's vaccination drive is kicking off first with healthcare workers and staff in the healthcare sector as they work in direct care of patients or in supporting roles, he said.

Mr Gan added that the elderly and those at greater risk of severe disease from the coronavirus will be vaccinated from next month, beginning with seniors aged 70 and above.

He said that as more vaccines are approved for use, Singapore will adjust its vaccination programme depending on vaccine supply and disease epidemiology.

Mr Gan told the House that the Government had started planning for the Covid-19 vaccination programme "very early on", and that it has in place end-to-end processes to meet the cold-chain logistics requirements.

This includes delivery and receipt of the doses at the airport, storage and transport to vaccination sites - so that the quality and efficacy of the vaccines are not compromised.

In response to Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC), who wanted to know how Singapore was mitigating the risk of non-delivery of vaccine orders, Mr Gan said Singapore is in close contact with the manufacturers that it has signed contracts with and that it is monitoring the delivery schedule. - THE STRAITS TIMES

coronavirus