Singapore – On Wednesday (Jan 20), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, noting in social media that it is safe for former stroke patients like himself.
“Took my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination this morning at the National Centre of Infectious Diseases, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH),” wrote Mr Heng in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
He noted that he sat down with Dr Shawn Vasoo to run through the medical questionnaire prior to getting his vaccination.
“The vaccine is safe and effective, even for former stroke patients like myself,” confirmed Mr Heng.
In 2016, Mr Heng was admitted to TTSH after collapsing during a Cabinet meeting. He was diagnosed to have suffered a stroke caused by an aneurysm.
Mr Heng, who is also the Minister for Finance and Member of Parliament for the East Coast GRC, mentioned conducting an East Coast conversation on Sunday with residents about Phase 3 of exiting the Circuit Breaker period.
The vaccination was understandably the top discussion topic, said Mr Heng.
“We are progressively rolling out our national vaccination strategy in the coming weeks and months,” said Mr Heng.
“I strongly encourage you to take it up when it becomes available to you. This will not only protect you, but also your loved ones and our community.”
Since Dec 30, 2020, Singapore has been rolling out vaccination to frontline healthcare, aviation and maritime workers, with NCID senior staff nurse Sarah Lim being the first to receive the vaccine. She was followed by 39 other healthcare workers at NCID.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon, including the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force co-chairs, Gan Kim Yong and Lawrence Wong, have also received the first doses of the vaccine.
Mr Wong highlighted in a separate statement that those who choose not to take the Covid-19 vaccine might need to go through “more frequent testing” while those who get vaccinated will receive “tangible benefits” such as serving shorter Stay-Home Notices.
The Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination has recommended that the government make about five per cent of the vaccine stock readily available at any given point in time for those who are “of critical importance to the functioning of Singapore” such as those in charge of water and utilities to avoid disruptions of nationally essential services.
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