SINGAPORE - Only vaccines that meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness will be used in Singapore's vaccination programme, said President Halimah Yacob on Wednesday (Jan 27).
She urged Singaporeans to take the vaccine when it becomes available to them, adding that a high level of vaccination coverage will maximise protection for the population, and minimise the proportion of people still susceptible to Covid-19.
"This will in turn reduce the risk of large outbreaks, continue to keep community cases low, and allow us to further reopen the economy and resume more normal social activities," she said.
The President received her Covid-19 shot during her visit to Outram Polyclinic on Wednesday, where seniors and front-line workers were getting the jab.
"The process was quick, simple and not painful at all," she wrote in a Facebook post. "I also talked to several seniors who had received their jabs and they gave the same feedback."
Seniors in Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar have been invited to get vaccinated under a pilot scheme, and between 5,000 and 10,000 in each of the two towns will receive letters inviting them to book appointments to do so.
The scheme will eventually be expanded to seniors living in other precincts from the middle of February, with more vaccination centres to be set up near residents' homes.
Madam Halimah added that the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's position is that Covid-19 vaccines are permissible for Muslim use.
"By taking the vaccination, we will not only protect ourselves but also our loved ones against Covid-19, as we need to safeguard our family members and friends," she said.
One of those who received the vaccine on Wednesday was Madam Lee Oi Lin, 70, who said she was initially apprehensive but decided to get vaccinated for her own protection.
"Actually, I was a little worried at first because I am a senior," she said in Mandarin, adding that she has high blood pressure and high blood sugar. "But after thinking about it, I still decided to get vaccinated."
Mr Mohamed Haniffa Mohamed Ali, a 64-year-old security officer, also received the vaccine on Wednesday. Both his daughters - one of whom is a nurse - have been vaccinated.
"I consulted them and they said 'Father, go ahead'," he said. "I encourage everybody to come down - don't delay."