PM Lee: Singapore should be able to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to entire population this year

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

SINGAPORE – Singapore should be able to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to its entire population within this year, provided that the vaccine supplies come in as scheduled, according to the republic’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (picture).

Lee who completed his full vaccination regimen on Jan 29 said 250,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine in Singapore at the moment.

“We have vaccinated most frontline and essential workers, and are now vaccinating our seniors, starting with those over 70,” he said in his annual Chinese New Year message released here today.

While thanking the people for their continued support for the tough restrictions the government has had to implement to control the spread of the virus, Lee said those stricter measures, including scaling down family gatherings and Chinese New Year visits, were necessary as the virus is still spreading rapidly around the world.

“This January, we saw the new waves of infection caused by year-end celebrations in many countries, where many people gathered and let their guard down. This is something Singapore should learn from and avoid,” said the prime minister.

As Chinese New Year is a time for reunions and celebration, Lee said, with COVID-19, “it is perhaps more important than ever to show our appreciation to our family members.”

“I know these restrictions will dampen the festive atmosphere somewhat. Bigger extended families will be especially inconvenienced, but the precautions are essential to keep our loved ones safe. I am sure you will find other ways to hold your reunions and connect with family members and friends, perhaps through video calls or teleconferencing.

“We can look forward to more carefree celebrations when the pandemic is over,” he said.

The first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Singapore on Dec 21 last year and the republic began its vaccination exercise on Dec 30.

Although it is voluntarily, Singapore has made provision for its citizens and long-term residents to get vaccinated, and it will be free of charge.

On Feb 3, the republic also granted an interim authorisation for the second COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, which is expected to arrive in March 2021, to be used.