Singapore — There have been mixed reactions to the warning that Covid-19 vaccine supplies will not be reserved for those who choose not to get the jab when it is their turn and that it will go to whoever is next in line.
The Government, which is already vaccinating frontline workers as part of a national non-mandatory immunisation scheme, expects to have enough vaccines to cover all Singapore residents by the third quarter of the year.
Mr Lawrence Wong, who is the co-chairman of the Multi-ministry Task Force on Covid-19, said at a press meet on Tuesday (Jan 19) that vaccines will not be reserved for those who choose to wait because Singapore aims to complete vaccinations for all as soon as possible. He said:
“For those who choose not to take (it) up, it’s your choice. But we will roll out and push out the vaccines regardless. If you want to wait, you must accept the consequence that perhaps if you wait … and you want to take it up later on, we may not have a ready supply.”
Mr Wong, who is the Education Minister, added: “We are not trying to hold back or ration the supply — it’s not in Singapore’s interest to do that. Our interest is to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Echoing Mr Wong’s warning, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said: “We are not going to reserve some for you if you decide not to be vaccinated.”
Noting that vaccinations could accelerate Singapore’s reopening, Mr Gan said Singaporeans should seriously consider whether they should hold back on getting the jab. He said:
“Today, our number of cases is low. Some may have the misperception that it’s quite safe, so it really doesn’t matter. But we must remember that the rest of the world is still burning up; we still have new cases every day and new records being set almost every other day.”
Mr Gan added that the Government would use public education to persuade those who are reluctant to get the vaccine and has potential plans to go house to house to explain the benefits of immunisation to seniors.
While many Singaporeans understood the Government’s reason why it may not be able to reserve the vaccine for reluctant individuals, others felt that this may put too much pressure on those who may have legitimate reasons for wanting to wait.
Some expressed concerns about being pressured to take the controversial Coronavac vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, especially since residents will not be allowed to choose which vaccine to take.
Meanwhile, others asked whether vaccines are going the route of the TraceTogether system which was also described as “non-mandatory” when it was rolled out.
Here are some of the responses to the Govt’s take-it stand on Covid-19 vaccines:
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