IHH Healthcare seeking to tap MOH stockpile of Sinovac shots

Private healthcare provider IHH Healthcare Singapore will be applying to tap the Ministry of Health's (MOH) stockpile of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine and offer it at certain clinics and hospitals here.

MOH had said on Friday that private healthcare institutions can apply to be licensed providers of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine under the Special Access Route, and draw on its existing stock of 200,000 doses delivered earlier this year.

In response to queries from The Sunday Times, Dr Noel Yeo, the group's chief operating officer, said yesterday that IHH Healthcare Singapore aims to offer Sinovac's jab at Parkway Shenton clinics and selected hospitals.

The group is the largest private healthcare provider here and operates the Mount Elizabeth, Mount Elizabeth Novena, Gleneagles and Parkway East hospitals. It also has a network of over 40 primary care clinics and outlets providing ancillary services.

"We look forward to providing Singaporeans, permanent residents, and long-term visit pass holders the alternative vaccine, especially to those who have previously been found unsuitable to receive the mRNA options," said Dr Yeo.

The group did not provide further details on the hospitals that would provide the vaccine, what it would cost for people to get the jab, or how they would go about registering for it.

MOH had also said on Friday that those with a history of anaphylaxis or allergic reactions to other drugs, food, insect stings or unknown triggers can now take the mRNA vaccines that are being offered here as part of the national vaccination programme.

These are the Covid-19 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, which previously could not be offered to these groups.

However, some of those with a history of anaphylaxis or allergic reactions to other vaccines, as well as about 2,000 people who developed anaphylaxis or allergic reactions after receiving the first dose of one of the mRNA vaccines, are still not able to take the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech jabs.

After consulting a healthcare professional, they may instead be able to take Sinovac's vaccine, which relies on an inactivated form of the coronavirus rather than mRNA to teach the body to defend itself against Covid-19.

Around 20 private clinics around the island, which can demonstrate the ability to administer Sinovac's vaccine safely, properly and efficiently, will be selected to draw on its stockpile to do so, MOH had added.

Private healthcare institutions have until noon on June 11 to apply. Those selected will receive vaccines from MOH's stock for free, but are allowed to charge patients receiving the vaccine a fee to cover their costs.

However, as the vaccine remains unregistered, it cannot be covered by the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 06, 2021, with the headline 'IHH Healthcare seeking to tap MOH stockpile of Sinovac shots'. Subscribe