Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Monday that Singapore has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, and the first shots will be delivered by the end of December.
“I am very happy to tell you that after studying the scientific evidence and clinical trial data, the Health Sciences Authority has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use,” Lee said in his address to the nation on Monday. The decision makes Singapore one of the first countries to obtain the vaccine.
The first shipment of the vaccine is expected to be delivered by the end of the year, while vaccines from other producers may arrive in the coming months.
There will be enough jabs for everyone in the city-state of 5.7 million by the third quarter of the next year, and the vaccines developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech will be free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents, Lee said.
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Healthcare and frontline workers, the elderly and vulnerable groups will be vaccinated first.
The PM and other officials will also be among early recipients. “This is to show you, especially seniors like me, that we believe the vaccines are safe,” Lee explained.
Later, a committee of doctors and experts propose to “progressively vaccinate” the rest of the population, and to “cover everyone who wants a vaccination by the end of next year.” The vaccinations are voluntary, but the prime minister urged people to participate in the program: “The more of us are vaccinated, the harder it will be for the virus to spread, and the safer we will all be as a society.”
Singapore’s Phase 3 of reopening will start on December 28, the PM announced, and social gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed in public, up from the current five.
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