MOH to track sale of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccination slots, take action if needed

The Ministry of Health has been providing assistance for private healthcare institutions to import more Sinovac supplies. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Enforcement action will be taken against people who exploit others by selling their Sinovac-CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccination slots.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times on Sunday (Aug 22), a spokesman for the Ministry of Health (MOH) said: "Individuals with booking slots should not exploit the situation and take advantage of people who want to be vaccinated."

MOH said it will watch out for any such acts of selling vaccination slots and "will proceed to take enforcement action where warranted".

Last Wednesday, checks by ST found four bidders on consumer e-marketplace Carousell offering between $50 and $80 to buy the slots.

One of the bidders said his family member is unable to receive messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna vaccines, under the national vaccination programme due to a medical reason.

The Sinovac vaccine is not included in Singapore's national vaccination programme.

MOH said it has not received any complaints related to the online posts.

It is unclear if any transaction has taken place.

Under the Special Access Route framework, the Government has allocated 170,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine to 31 approved private healthcare institutions for a total of 85,000 individuals to receive two vaccine doses free of charge. Administration of the second dose is currently ongoing for those who have taken the first dose.

The remaining 30,000 doses of the Government's stock have been reserved for Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who have allergic reactions to mRNA vaccines, and for other purposes.

MOH said it has been providing assistance for private healthcare institutions to import more Sinovac supplies, and estimated that the new stock will arrive by the end of September.

MOH added that private healthcare institutions that have been approved to offer the Sinovac vaccine have to screen and ensure that each individual is clinically assessed to be suitable for the jab.

This has to be done in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and the Health Sciences Authority's Special Access Route requirements.

In a statement on Monday, a spokesman for Carousell said listings of vaccination slots are "strictly prohibited".

It has removed such listings from its platform.

"We moderate our marketplace through both manual and automated methods, and work closely with the authorities as well as partners like the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, to keep our users safe," the spokesman said.

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