Vastavam web: Singapore has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s novel coronavirus vaccine and expects to receive shots by year-end, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday, adding that he planned to be among the early vaccine recipients. The city-state of 5.7 million people expects to have enough vaccines for everyone by the third quarter of 2021 and will make it free for citizens and long-term residents, Lee, 68, said.
While vaccination will be voluntary, Lee said he and other government officials would be among the early recipients after healthcare workers, other front-line personnel, the elderly and the vulnerable. Singapore has also signed advanced purchase agreements and made early down-payments on promising vaccine candidates including those being developed by Moderna and Sinovac, setting aside more than $1 billion for shots, authorities said.
“We have acquired sufficient doses of the vaccines for all Singaporeans and long-term residents,” the health ministry’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak, later told a media briefing. Lee also said Singapore would lift some anti-virus curbs from Dec. 28, including allowing groups of eight to congregate in public, up from a limit of five.
“Our situation is now stable,” Lee said. “Now that vaccines are becoming available, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.” Singapore has reported only a handful of local cases of COVID-19 over the last two months.