Get vaccinated promptly, don't wait for preferred Covid-19 vaccine brand: Lawrence Wong

Education Minister Lawrence Wong said that there is no way of knowing when a preferred brand of vaccine might be available here, but gave his assurance that Singapore's vaccines are safe. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - People here should get vaccinated as soon as they are given the chance to do so, urged Education Minister and co-chair of Singapore's Covid-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong, as he cautioned against waiting for one's preferred vaccine choices.

While the Government has made purchases and assured the public that there will be enough for everyone, there is uncertainty about the brand availability of vaccines, said Mr Wong on Wednesday (Jan 13).

He added that there is no way of knowing when one's preferred brand might be available, but gave his assurance that Singapore's vaccines are safe.

"What we have today is an authorised vaccine that is safe, that's effective," he said.

"And when the time comes, just come forward and get yourself vaccinated, rather than wait for some other brand that may or may not materialise down the road."

Mr Wong was speaking to reporters after receiving his Pfizer-BioNTech jab at the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, the other co-chair of the task force, was vaccinated on Wednesday as well.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first Covid-19 vaccine that has been approved for use here.

Vaccines by other pharmaceutical companies, Moderna and Sinovac, are expected to arrive in the months ahead.

Singapore's Covid-19 vaccination exercise began on Dec 30 last year with 40 healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. Since then, more than 6,200 people have received the vaccine.

The roll-out of the jabs here will be done in phases that will be timed with the arrival of Singapore's vaccine shipments.

The Government is setting up Covid-19 vaccination centres that will allow a large number of people to be vaccinated daily, and vaccinations will also be given in polyclinics and general practitioner clinics.

On Wednesday, Mr Wong said that there will be a significant ramp-up of vaccinations here, and added that it was important for front-liners like those working at Singapore's border entry points to get vaccinated as early as possible so that they can continue doing their job safely.

"That's the new front line, if you will, where the workers and the crew and the staff at these areas are potentially interacting with travellers and crew from overseas. So I think it's important that they get vaccinated early," he said.

"They are doing very important roles to keep our economy going, to keep Singapore going, and they are also an important part of our overall plan to contain the spread of the virus."

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