Singapore starts COVID -19 vaccination for healthcare workers
(Sourced from PTI)
Singapore became the first Asian country to start vaccinating healthcare workers against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday. More healthcare institutions will follow in the coming weeks, with public healthcare institutions and private hospitals to progressively arrange for their staff to be vaccinated within their premises, The Straits Times reported. Singapore received its first shipment of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech on December 21.
Elderly persons aged 70 years and above will get the vaccine shots from February. According to the report, other Singaporeans and long-term residents who are medically eligible for vaccination will be next in line. The Health Ministry's expert committee has accepted the recommendation that persons at high risk of being infected, including healthcare workers and front-line workers, should be given priority for vaccination.
In Singapore, 58,400 people have recovered from coronavirus, while 29 have died due to complications related to COVID-19 this year. Apart from Singapore, other countries, such as Britain, Canada, and the US have obtained and administered the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine has demonstrated high efficacy of 95% and its safety profile is consistent with high standards set for other registered vaccines used in immunization against different diseases, the committee noted. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorized by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), and the expert committee has endorsed its use in Singapore for individuals aged 16 years and above.
Vaccination will be offered on a free and voluntary basis for all Singaporeans and long-term residents, who are likely to get vaccinated by the end of 2021, provided there are no unforeseen disruptions to vaccine shipments.
The Ministry of Health had said last Sunday, "While vaccination is not a silver bullet which can end the pandemic immediately, it is a key enabler to getting Singapore back to a safer state of affairs." The ministry noted that comprehensive vaccination coverage in the population will indirectly protect those who cannot be inoculated due to medical reasons.