(Article was updated on December 14, 2020 at 5:40 pm.)
Singapore approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in a speech today (December 14), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
The first shipment is expected to arrive by the end of this month, making Singapore one of the first nations to receive this vaccine.
Singapore also expects other vaccines in the coming months.
If everything goes according to plan, the country will have enough vaccines for everyone here by the third quarter of 2021.
Prime Minister Lee outlined Singapore's Covid-19 vaccination strategy, which was recommended by a committee of doctors and experts set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The committee has proposed vaccinating the entire adult population, but vaccination is voluntary.
First priority for people at high risk
Image Credit: WonderWall
First and foremost are those who are most at risk, such as health workers and frontline workers, and the elderly and vulnerable.
After that, the rest of the population will be vaccinated gradually, and anyone who wishes will be vaccinated by the end of next year.
The government has decided to make vaccinations free for all Singaporeans and all long-term residents currently here, he added.
PM Lee said he and his colleagues will get vaccinated early to show the Singaporeans, especially the seniors, that they believe the vaccines are safe.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong also assured the Singaporeans that only vaccines that meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness are used.
Vaccine safe for anyone aged 16 and over
The HSA has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine under the pandemic special access rule, according to Kenneth Mak, MOH director for medical services.
He said the vaccine takes two doses 21 days apart and is recommended for people aged 16 and over.
However, it is not recommended that pregnant women, immunocompromised patients and people under 16 years of age get vaccinated.
He added that the HSA will continue to actively monitor the safety profile of the vaccines.
Selected image source: Financial Times