SINGAPORE - Singapore is most likely to make plans to vaccinate different segments of the population against Covid-19 from next year.
Those who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus and those at higher risk of getting infected, such as healthcare professionals and others in front-line roles, may get priority for vaccination, the Ministry of Health's director of medical services Kenneth Mak told a virtual press conference on Tuesday (Oct 20).
Details of the prioritisation will be worked out by an expert panel, which will also study the various vaccine options.
"We have convened an expert panel of doctors and scientists to advise us with regard to which of the vaccine candidates will be the most suitable for our setting," Prof Mak said.
"Many of the candidates will only complete phase-three studies at the end of this year… so it'd be more likely that we would be making more plans to vaccinate different parts of our population from next year onwards."
Singapore is looking to procure several different vaccines and are tracking the studies very carefully.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said by engaging with multiple suppliers, Singapore will be able to diversify its risk in an event that a vaccine candidate is unsuccessful. The country is also exploring new manufacturers and vaccine candidates, and continues to keep its options open.
Factors such as the price and quantity of the vaccine, if it is only suitable for certain groups, and the possibility of adverse effects will also have to be considered.
Other logistical aspects such as who should get priority for vaccination and how to manage distribution will also be studied by the expert panel.
"Some of the adverse effects could only occur over a longer period of time, so we have to bear in mind the potential risk… it's a balancing between the benefits and the risks," Mr Gan said.