How long do we have to keep up with rules and restrictions? The answer lies in a COVID-19 vaccine.
In June, Co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce Lawrence Wong announced that the government would secure the vaccines and make them available to all who need it. On Dec 14, the taskforce announced that the first batch of vaccines would be here by the year-end. By the end of next year, there will be enough vaccines for everyone. What the PAP Government promises, it delivers.
Since early in the pandemic, the government has been working quietly behind the scenes to secure access to vaccines. In fact, Singapore was among the first countries to join the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) Facility.
With more than 200 vaccine candidates being developed, securing it was not a simple exercise. Not all the vaccines being developed would succeed.
“We started talking to the pharmaceutical companies early to understand the science, and identify the promising candidates and vaccines likely to reach production soon,” PM Lee said in his update on the COVID-19 situation.
More than $1 billion set aside for COVID-19 vaccines
The Singapore Government set aside more than $1 billion for vaccines.
Building a diversified portfolio of vaccines
“We placed multiple bets, to sign advance purchase agreements and make early down-payments for the most promising candidates, including with Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Sinovac. We made arrangements with pharmaceutical companies to facilitate their clinical trials and drug development in Singapore, and attracted a few to establish vaccine manufacturing capabilities here. We also supported local efforts to develop a vaccine. This gave our own scientists and researchers the opportunity to do cutting edge work. It was also insurance, in case the global supply chain was disrupted. This way, we built up a diversified portfolio of options, to ensure that Singapore would be near the front of the queue for vaccines, and not last in line,” PM Lee said.
A whole-of-government effort
Securing early access to vaccines was a whole of government effort. Many agencies and public officers, led by the Head of the Civil Service, were involved in this critical mission. “They are among the legion of unsung heroes who have helped us get through this crisis,” PM Lee said.