Vaccination exercise a key focus for Singapore this year: Gan Kim Yong
Gan Kim Yong calls it a new line of defence for Singapore, shares details of vaccination programme
The national effort to vaccinate the population will require considerable resources and will be one of Singapore's key focus areas this year, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, as he fleshed out the country's vaccination strategy yesterday.
"Vaccinations will be a key enabler allowing us to return to normalcy," Mr Gan told Parliament yesterday.
He said this is a new line of defence that Singapore must put in place while the global situation remains volatile, and it involves a massive logistical exercise.
"We have secured enough vaccines for the whole population. Every vaccine approved for use will meet all our safety and efficacy requirements," said Mr Gan.
Sharing some of the details of the programme, Mr Gan said that people will need to make a booking before visiting vaccination centres for their Covid-19 shot and will not be allowed to choose which vaccine they would like to receive.
Vaccinated individuals will get a physical card but can also check their vaccination status online.
Following the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines last month, Mr Gan said more are expected to arrive here in the next few months, including those by US company Moderna and China's Sinovac.
Healthcare workers and other Covid-19 front-line staff will be first in line for the vaccine, followed by the elderly, those at greater risk of severe disease, and those in jobs or settings where risk of a super-spreading event is high, including migrant workers.
Vaccinations will then be progressively broadened to include other Singaporeans and long-term residents.
Mr Gan encouraged people to get themselves vaccinated, though it is voluntary.
He said: "This will not only protect yourself but also indirectly protect others who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. This collective protection will be more effective the more people are vaccinated."
To ensure vaccine access, Mr Gan said Covid-19 vaccinations will be free for all Singaporeans and permanent residents, as well as long-term residents here, which adds up to about 5.7 million people.
He stressed that the Health Sciences Authority will allow a Covid-19 vaccine to be used only if it is assessed to be sufficiently efficacious and safe, and only if the benefits are assessed to outweigh the risks of any potential adverse effects from the vaccination.
To further give people peace of mind, the Health Ministry will also introduce a vaccine injury financial assistance programme to provide support for people who suffer serious side effects related to Covid-19 vaccines administered here.