Now we know that the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use.
We can expect the first shipment here by the end of this month. This makes Singapore one of the first countries to obtain this vaccine. We also expect other vaccines to arrive in Singapore in the coming months.
If all goes according to plan, we will have enough vaccines for everyone in Singapore by third quarter 2021, PM Lee said.
So the next question is: who gets vaccinated first? The answer was given in PM Lee’s update on the COVID-19 situation delivered yesterday, 14 December.
The vaccination is voluntary and free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents. But the first priority will be given to those who are at greatest risk: healthcare workers and frontline personnel, as well as the elderly and vulnerable. Thereafter, the rest of the population will be progressively vaccinated.
My cabinet colleagues and I, including the older ones, will be getting ourselves vaccinated early. This is to show you, especially seniors like me, that we believe the vaccines are safe.
Still the news of the vaccines being offered free to all Singaporeans invite comments such as this one:
And this one:
Don’t they bother to tune in to the update by PM Lee that was streamed ‘live’ over several platforms? Or read the news especially since they are so concerned about safety?
Fortunately, helpful netizens did their best to inform and enlighten Ruth Chan and Ruth Chia.
Watch the news, will ya? PM Lee had already said he and his Cabinet will be the first to be vaccinated to demonstrate their confidence in the safety of the vaccine.
It’s voluntary, so you can choose whether you want to be vaccinated!
There are always the appreciative ones who understand that everyone has a part to play.
Who should be vaccinated?
Pregnant women, anyone under the age of 16 and immuno-compromised persons should not take the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available here. The reason is because there is insufficient data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for these groups of people.
All other people should be vaccinated. Vaccination does not just protect ourselves. When we are vaccinated, we are also playing our part in protecting others, especially our loved ones. The more of us are vaccinated, the harder it will be for the virus to spread. Therefore, the safer we will be as a society.
As a global aviation hub, we play a crucial role transporting vaccines around the world. Vaccines require cold chain management. An ordinary refrigerator is not good enough. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. This is colder than the Arctic in winter.
Transporting this vaccine requires infrastructure, high standards, skilled personnel, and good connectivity to many different countries all along the supply chain.
Fortunately, Singapore has a strong ecosystem for cargo handling. Leading global logistics companies like DHL, UPS and FedEx are based here. SIA, and Changi Airport’s ground handling partners are certified by IATA (International Air Transport Association) to handle and transport pharmaceutical supplies. We are now gearing ourselves up to handle large volumes of vaccine shipments into and through Singapore, to help win the global fight against COVID-19.
We did not get here overnight. We have always planned ahead, systematically creating opportunities for ourselves. It took us years of investment and planning, building a business-friendly climate and expanding our air links around the world. These long-term investments are now paying dividends.– PM Lee –