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Calvin Cheng: We have very little. We are a tiny city-state. Our existence depends on being open.

Singapore's survival depends on its openness, he said.

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Singapore — Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng has taken to Facebook to speak about vaccinations and exiting -19 restrictions in Singapore.

He starts by saying that having an approved vaccine is better than not having a vaccine at all. However, he also asserts that some vaccines are better than others.

Six months after vaccines started being administered worldwide, researchers are now able to obtain real-life data. Countries such as Seychelles and Chile that have relied mainly on Chinese vaccines are seeing a rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, according to Mr Cheng. However, the number is considerably lower than if no vaccines were administered in the country at all.

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Countries such as Israel that have administered Pfizer are currently doing very well. Meanwhile, the British Astra Zeneca and the US Johnson and Johnson vaccines have a small but also real risk of blood clots, Mr Cheng says. In countries that have multiple vaccines to choose from, they administer said vaccines only for the elderly. Japan has donated its entire Astra Zeneca stock to Taiwan.

Singapore only wants the most effective vaccines in its national vaccine programme. Its choice of vaccines has no relation to politics, but rather scientific data.

The supplies for vaccines are tenuous globally. This can be attributed to not only insufficient raw materials but also the fact that many countries are being locked in and restricted by contracts that were formed earlier. Big Pharma (i.e. the global pharmaceutical industry) has also brought politics into the issue of supplies by giving preference to more influential markets and big-power allies. According to Mr Cheng, China also appears to be choosing whom to supple the more effective Sinopharm vaccine as opposed to the less effective Sinovac vaccine.

Singapore may be wealthy, but it is considered small and insignificant as a market, Mr Cheng says. It isn’t just about a country’s ability to pay more when it comes to the of vaccines. It is also about political clout.

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Singapore may be trying its best, but the road ahead remains challenging.

However, Singapore’s supplies will be accelerated soon. Once the nation hits a vaccination rate exceeding 70 per cent, there will be more options for opening as well as lifting restrictions.

Singapore cannot be a hermit nation, Mr Cheng says. Its existence depends on its openness.

Some agreed that the most important thing now was to administer vaccines to citizens in order to impede the spread of the virus. However, there are undoubtedly vaccines on the market that are better than others.

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Photo: Facebook Screengrab

Some others agreed that it is important for Singapore to open up again while continuing to keep in place measures such as social distancing as well as mask-wearing.

Photo: Facebook Screengrab

Mr Cheng also recently made a Facebook post urging Singapore to open its borders soon. /TISG

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