Coronavirus Singapore

Wong: Get jab when given chance, don't wait for preferred choice

Education Minister Lawrence Wong said that there is no way of knowing when a preferred brand of vaccine might be available here, but gave his assurance that Singapore's vaccines are safe.
Education Minister Lawrence Wong said that there is no way of knowing when a preferred brand of vaccine might be available here, but gave his assurance that Singapore's vaccines are safe.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

People here should get vaccinated as soon as they are given the chance to do so, urged Education Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday, as he cautioned against waiting for one's preferred vaccine choices.

While the Government has made purchases and assured that there will be enough for everyone, there is uncertainty about the brand availability of vaccines, said Mr Wong, who is also co-chair of Singapore's multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.

He added that there is no way of knowing when one's preferred brand might be available, but gave his assurance that Singapore's vaccines are safe.

"What we have today is an authorised vaccine that is safe, that's effective," he said.

"And when the time comes, just come forward and get yourself vaccinated, rather than waiting for some other brand that may or may not materialise down the road."

Mr Wong was speaking to reporters after receiving his Pfizer-BioNTech jab at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who also co-chairs the Covid-19 task force, was vaccinated yesterday as well.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first Covid-19 vaccine that has been approved for use here.

Vaccines by other pharmaceutical companies, Moderna and Sinovac, are expected to arrive in the months ahead.

Singapore's Covid-19 vaccination exercise began on Dec 30 last year with 40 healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. Since then, more than 6,200 people have received the vaccine.

The roll-out of the jabs here will be done in phases that will be timed together with the arrival of Singapore's vaccine shipments.

The Government is setting up vaccination centres that will allow a large number of people to be vaccinated daily, and vaccinations will also be carried out at polyclinics and general practitioner clinics.

Yesterday, Mr Wong said there will be a significant ramp-up of vaccinations here, and added that it is important for front-liners like those working at Singapore's border entry points to get vaccinated as early as possible so that they can continue doing their job safely.

"That's the new front line, if you will, where the workers, crew and staff at these areas are potentially interacting with travellers and crew from overseas. So I think it's important that they get vaccinated early," he said.

"They are doing very important roles to keep our economy going, to keep Singapore going, and they are also an important part of our overall plan to contain the spread of the virus."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2021, with the headline 'Wong: Get jab when given chance, don't wait for preferred choice'. Print Edition | Subscribe