Covid-19 vaccines will be free for S'poreans; vaccination recommended but voluntary for adults

Those who are at greatest risk will be given first priority, including healthcare workers and front-line personnel.
Those who are at greatest risk will be given first priority, including healthcare workers and front-line personnel.PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID, REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Covid-19 vaccines will be free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents who are currently here, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Dec 14).

Those who are at greatest risk will be given first priority, including healthcare workers and front-line personnel, as well as the elderly and the vulnerable, he said in a televised address.

"Thereafter, the committee proposes to progressively vaccinate the rest of the population, and to cover everyone who wants a vaccination by the end of next year," said PM Lee, referring to a committee of doctors and experts set up by the Health Ministry to recommend a vaccination strategy for Singapore.

In a vote of confidence for the experts in Singapore who have approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use, he added that he and his colleagues in Cabinet will be getting vaccinated early.

PM Lee said: "This is to show you, especially seniors like me, that we believe the vaccines are safe."

While vaccinations are voluntary, he urged people here to get vaccinated when one is offered to them.

"Because when you get yourself vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself," said PM Lee.

"The more of us are vaccinated, the harder it will be for the virus to spread, and the safer we will all be as a society."

He made this call as he announced on Monday that the Health Sciences Authority has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use.

The first shipment of the vaccine is expected to arrive by the end of this month.

More vaccines will become available in the months ahead, he said, adding that if all goes to plan, Singapore will have enough vaccines for everyone here by the third quarter of next year.

There are currently 52 Covid-19 vaccine candidates in clinical trials worldwide.

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