Singapore will have capacity to get population vaccinated against Covid-19 by Q3 2021, but may take longer to do so

The factors include vaccine supply, as well as the willingness of Singaporeans and long-term residents to get vaccinated. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore will have the capacity and capability to get its population vaccinated by the third quarter of this year, said Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary.

However, it might take up to the end of the year to do so, depending on a combination of factors.

These factors include vaccine supply, as well as the willingness of Singaporeans and long-term residents to get vaccinated, Dr Janil said.

"Our ability to deliver on this is present, and will be present," he said.

"But we hope that the communications, outreach and engagement necessary in order to make this happen is something that members of this House will assist with."

He was responding to Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC), who had asked for clarification on when the nationwide Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will be completed.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in December that the country will have enough vaccines for everyone in Singapore by the third quarter of this year, if all goes according to plan.

Dr Janil replied that although this still holds true, there may be members of the public who require further explanation on why getting vaccinated is the right thing to do, or require further medical screening.

"This process will take some time," he said.

Mr Alex Yam (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) asked how the European Union's decision to tighten exports of vaccines manufactured in the region would affect Singapore's vaccination roll-out.

He also asked if Singapore will, at some point, consider producing vaccines here to avoid these issues.

Dr Janil said there are no plans to change Singapore's vaccine roll-out targets, adding that the specifics of its arrangements are confidential.

On Singapore's plans for vaccine production, he said: "It's indeed something that I'm sure will be explored but ultimately, it comes down to the licensure of the specific vaccine that's demonstrated to be safe and effective for our population."

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