SINGAPORE, July 17 — Singapore intends to donate its Covid-19 vaccines under the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative to other countries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Leaders’ Retreat on Covid-19, Mr Lee said that countries whose vaccination programmes are ahead should make their excess vaccine supplies available to others.
“Within our region, APEC economies should support one another, both for the present and future pandemics. For example, through technical assistance to strengthen national public health capabilities, the last mile,” he said.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health said yesterday that more than 6.57 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered under the national vaccination scheme, with more than 2.54 million having completed the full vaccination regimen.
The Covax initiative, run by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners, aims to provide “equitable access” to Covid-19 vaccines to people around the globe, said the WHO.
The virtual meeting yesterday was hosted by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and was attended by world leaders including US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In his speech, Mr Lee said APEC members should take the lead to reconnect economies and pursue trade liberalisation. He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted international trade and the movement of people across borders.
“Understandably, countries are working towards more self-reliance, especially for essential goods, but we should not take this too far,” Mr Lee said. — TODAY