SINGAPORE, Jan 8 — About three weeks after Singapore received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received his jab at the Singapore General Hospital this morning.
He was joined by Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, 53, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health, who also received a shot.
Lee, 68, who rested for half an hour after the jab, said: “It’s painless, it’s effective and it’s important. I hope Singaporeans will take it up as we roll it out.”
He will get the second dose of the vaccine in three weeks. The World Health Organization this week recommended that people get two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine within 21 to 28 days.
In a televised address to the nation on December 14, Lee said that he and his Cabinet colleagues would be vaccinated early in a vote of confidence for the experts in Singapore who have given the green light for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only one approved for use here so far.
This is to show Singaporeans, especially seniors, that the vaccines are safe, he said.
The first shipment of the vaccine developed by United States pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech arrived in Singapore on December 21, making Singapore the first country in Asia to obtain it.
On December 30, senior staff nurse Sarah Lim from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases became the first person in Singapore to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. She was among 40 workers at the centre who received the jab that day.
More healthcare workers from public and private healthcare providers will receive their vaccinations in the coming weeks as Singapore kicks off its nationwide vaccination programme.
Next in line are elderly people above 70, who will be vaccinated from February, followed by other Singaporeans and long-term residents who are medically eligible.
PM Lee gave the assurance that ample vaccines are expected to arrive in Singapore, as orders have been placed early. He hopes that the vaccination exercise would be completed by the end of the year at the latest.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament on Monday that Singapore had secured enough vaccines for all citizens, permanent residents and long-term residents, with supplies due to arrive by the third quarter of this year.
The vaccine will be free for all three groups, which total about 5.7 million people.
Long-term residents include employment pass, S Pass and work permit holders, foreign domestic workers, as well as holders of dependent’s passes, long-term visit passes and student passes. They do not include short-term visit pass holders and tourists. — TODAY