Singapore—The Expert Committee that advised the Government on the Covid-19 vaccine strategy has mentioned three groups who will not be given vaccine doses: women who are pregnant, children younger than 16 years old, and people who are immunocompromised or have an impaired immune system.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Monday (Dec 14) that Singapore is entering Phase 3 of its reopening on Dec 28 and that the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech will arrive in the country by the end of this month.
By the third quarter of next year, PM Lee added, there will be enough doses of the vaccine for all Singaporeans and long-term residents, but the vaccine will not be mandatory.
They will, however, be free, the Prime Minister also said.
The three groups of people will not be administered the vaccines because there is not enough data as yet to ensure that the vaccine will be safe and effective for their particular cases.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) authorized the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech for pandemic use in Singapore after looking into its clinical trial data and scientific evidence of the dosages.
In 2021, more batches from three different pharmaceutical companies will be coming.
As mentioned by PM Lee in his speech, Advance Purchase Agreements have been made by the Government with Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Sinovac, with further discussions being made with other drug manufacturers.
This was done to ensure that Singaporeans would be among the first to get the vaccine, and not the last, said PM Lee.
The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination said that priority for getting the vaccines would be given to those who are at the highest risk, including those who work in healthcare and the frontlines, as well as vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those who are at the greater risk of severe disease from COVID-19 infection.
PM Lee said that he and his older colleagues in the Cabinet would be early recipients of the vaccine.
He added, “When you get yourself vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself. You are also doing your part to protect others, especially your loved ones.”
The Expert Committee will be sharing its detailed advice about the overall vaccination strategy for the country with its specific recommendations on each of the vaccines in the weeks to come.
In the press conference the multi-ministry taskforce held after PM Lee’s address, Gan Kim Yong, the Health Minister said that the vaccine had not been made mandatory as the authorities want to “respect people’s choice.”
Mr Gan also said that there is a variety of health conditions that Singaporeans have and that health professionals may need to specifically match people who have medical conditions with the vaccine appropriate for them. —/TISG