China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Singapore, but is not yet approved for use

The Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine has not yet been authorised by the Health Sciences Authority for use in Singapore PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore received its first shipment of China's Sinovac vaccine on Tuesday (Feb 23) but has yet to authorise it for use, said the Health Ministry (MOH) on Wednesday (Feb 24).

It added that the vaccine maker has started submitting initial data to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

"HSA is currently awaiting Sinovac's submission of all the necessary information in order to carry out a thorough scientific assessment of the manufacturing process, safety and efficacy of the vaccine under the Pandemic Special Access Route," MOH said.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have received interim authorisation under this route.

As a condition of such authorisation, vaccine manufacturers have to monitor the longer-term efficacy of vaccines to determine the duration of protection against Covid-19.

They are also required to continue following up on the safety of their products for a longer period of time, in order to determine its full safety profile.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines involve injecting snippets of the virus' genetic material into the body to stimulate an immune response.

In contrast, Sinovac's product is a more traditional inactivated vaccine, which makes use of killed virus particles. This method has been used in vaccines for diseases such as polio.

MOH also said it received a fresh shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday, and will continue to monitor vaccine supplies closely.

In a Facebook post, the Chinese embassy said the delivery of the vaccine cements the agreement made by both countries to cooperate on issues related to the pandemic.

"China and Singapore have helped each other to meet the challenge since the Covid-19 epidemic broke out, setting a fine example for cooperation against the virus among countries," it wrote.

It added that China will continue to work with Singapore to "enhance cooperation on vaccine and epidemic control, build a global community of health for all, and win the final victory in the fight against the epidemic".

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.