In a statement in Parliament on the third update on the Whole-of-government Response To Covid-19, Minister For Health Gan Kim Yong strongly encouraged everyone who is medically eligible to get vaccinated when the vaccine is offered to them.
PM and Cabinet colleagues too will get vaccinated when their turn comes he said while responding to several questions.
“This will not only protect yourself but also indirectly protect others who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. This collective protection will be more effective the more people are vaccinated”, he said.
To ensure access to the vaccine, COVID-19 vaccination will be free for all Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and long-term residents in Singapore.
This excludes Short-Term Visit Pass holders, such as tourists, but will include Employment Pass, S-Pass, Work Permit holders, Foreign Domestic Workers, and Dependant’s Pass, Long-Term Visit Pass and Student Pass holders, totalling about 5.7m people.
We must not be complacent or wait till an outbreak and then rush to be vaccinated. He added that as the PM has said, we have every confidence in our experts and the process that has been put in place.
He was referring to the review process by the Health Science Authority of Singapore (HSA) Medicines Advisory Committee and a Panel of Infectious Diseases Experts.
They have concurred that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is suitable for use in Singapore, for persons aged 16 years and above, for the prevention of COVID-19.
The Moderna and Sinovac vaccines are also currently undergoing the review process.
Based on data available today, people who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may experience side effects such as pain in the injection site, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, or headaches.
These are similar to the side effects for other established vaccines and they usually resolve on their own in a few days.
Both HSA and the Expert Committee have studied the data, from clinical trials as well as actual experience from vaccinations carried out in other countries.
They have factored this into their evaluation before granting authorisation or making a recommendation on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.
As recommended by the Expert Committee and consistent with the World Health Organization’s guidance, Singapore will prioritise vaccinations of groups that are most at-risk.
Beginning with healthcare workers and staff working in the healthcare sector, it will prioritise COVID-19 frontline and other essential personnel.
Vaccination of elderly and those at greater risk of severe disease from COVID-19 infection will start from February 2021, beginning with seniors aged 70 and above.
The Government will also prioritise others who are in jobs or settings where risk of a super-spreading event is high, such as the construction, marine and process (CMP) sector, including migrant workers, before progressively broadening vaccinations to include other Singaporeans and long-term residents who are medically eligible.