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Approach to transit to the endemic stage

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong
MP for Hougang SMC

Question No. 1519

To ask the Minister for Health whether there are further plans to diversify COVID-19 vaccine sourcing.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Lim Wee Kiak
MP for Sembawang GRC 

Question No. 1535

To ask the Minister for Health when the COVID-19 vaccination rate of 80% is reached by September 2021 (a) what is the Ministry’s plan to wind down the vaccination centres islandwide; and (b) whether there will be permanent vaccination centres and associated facilities should future booster doses are required.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Darryl David 
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC

Question No. 1577

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry can provide an update on the COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant women; and (b) what support or counselling has been provided to pregnant women who have concerns on the potential effect of the vaccination on themselves and their unborn children.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Alex Yam Ziming
MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC

Question No. 1585

To ask the Minister for Health (a) of those who refuse COVID-19 vaccination but not on medical grounds, what are the main reasons for them doing so; (b) whether the Ministry will implement a more targeted approach to address those who have concerns about the different vaccines; and (c) whether tougher action will be taken against persons who persistently spread misinformation to undermine the vaccination campaign.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Murali Pillai
MP for Bukit Batok

Question No. 1593

To ask the Minister for Health whether he can provide details of the Ministry’s programme announced in July 2021 to provide booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Alex Yam Ziming
MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC

Question No. 1613

To ask the Minister for Health in light of reduced vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 variants that is of concern in other countries (a) whether the Ministry will (i) review the speed of relaxation of measures and the opening up of borders (ii) consider the requirement for booster shots and (iii) share what are the long-term outlook and healthcare plans for an COVID-19 endemic Singapore.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Seah Kian Peng 
MP for Marine Parade GRC

Question No. 1626

To ask the Minister for Health whether there are already plans in place to secure COVID-19 booster jabs following the completion of the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Lim Wee Kiak
MP for Sembawang GRC

Question No. 1633

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination will be conducting any study to determine the incidence of adverse reactions to vaccine boosters and, if so, how will such study be conducted; (b) under what circumstances will vaccine boosters be allowed if such study shows a higher incidence of adverse reactions to vaccine boosters; and (c) whether mobile vaccination teams and other methods to encourage vaccination for the elderly will be retained.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Chong Kee Hiong
MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

Question No. 1640

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry will consider subsidising regular Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) for those who are unable to take the current slate of vaccines due to medical or health reasons; and (b) what proportion of the population needs to be vaccinated before it will be possible for those who are not vaccinated due to legitimate reasons to be able to enjoy the same treatment as those who are fully vaccinated in more and higher exposure risk activities.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Shahira Abdullah
Nominated MP

Question No. 1675

To ask the Minister for Health with Singapore achieving 80% COVID-19 vaccination status and moving into endemic status (a) whether the Ministry will stop tracking the number of COVID-19 infection cases; (b) what other forms of tracking and measures will be relaxed when Singapore reaches endemic status; and (c) what other thresholds or criteria must be reached before we do.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Tan Wu Meng
MP for Jurong GRC

Question No. 1678

To ask the Minister for Health what avenues of support are available for pregnant or post-partum women who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 because of medical reasons and who have to visit their loved ones in hospital given the cost of the self-paid pre-visit COVID-19 test.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim
MP for Sengkang GRC

Question No. 1696

To ask the Minister for Health given how Singapore had committed to advanced purchase agreements for COVID-19 vaccines as early as June 2020 (a) what were the reasons behind the delay that led to the first receipt of shipments only in December 2020; and (b) what were the constraints that inhibited a more rapid vaccine rollout rate, at least until April 2021.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Pritam Singh  
MP for Aljunied GRC

Question No. 1705

To ask the Minister for Health when does the Government plan to start COVID-19 booster vaccination for the general population.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leong Mun Wai
Non-Constituency MP

Question No. 1707

To ask the Minister for Health what are the remaining conditions to be met before the existing vaccinated-differentiated safe management measures can be lifted for Singapore given that Singapore has achieved an 80% COVID-19 vaccination rate.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis
MP for Sengkang GRC 

Question No. 1724

To ask the Minister for Health in view of the COVID-19 dose-sharing agreement with Australia (a) whether there are sufficient vaccines for the national vaccination programme by providing details on (i) the current stock of COVID-19 vaccines (ii) the remaining number of doses that have yet to be delivered under existing supply agreements and when these are due to be delivered; (b) whether the Government has completed its assessment on the need for a booster shot; and (c) whether additional contracts have been signed to reserve additional doses if required and, if so, what are the expected delivery schedules.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms He Ting Ru
MP for Sengkang GRC

Question No. 1728

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the costs of regular testing under the “Vaccinate or Regular Testing” (VoRT) regime will be fully borne by the Government for individuals who are able to secure a doctor’s certification confirming their ineligibility for COVID-19 vaccination; and (b) how long is the VoRT regime expected to persist given that full-vaccination coverage of the population is now at 80%.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo
MP for East Coast GRC 

Question No. 1736

To ask the Minister for Health with the move towards greater use of and dependency on Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kits by individuals and organisations, how can the Ministry ensure the integrity of the system and test results, to prevent any undermining of the nation’s ongoing efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC

Question No. 1773

To ask the Minister for Health (a) in relation to the four-stage roadmap to transit Singapore to a “COVID-19 resilient nation” announced on 6 August 2021, what are the criteria for reaching each of the stages; (b) whether further details can be provided about the restrictions which will be eased at each of the stages; and (c) whether the Government will consider further easing COVID-19 restrictions given that the milestone of eight in 10 people in Singapore being fully vaccinated has been achieved.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leong Mun Wai
Non-Constituency MP

Question No.1782

To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry has received any feedback on restaurants refusing entry for dining-in to unvaccinated individuals who have presented negative COVID-19 test results as required under the Pre-Event Testing (PET) regime and, if so, what is being done to ensure that restaurants will accept these forms of verification

Oral Answer

1. Sir, we have achieved a 80% COVID-19 vaccination rate at the beginning of September, and a number of MPs have asked for greater clarity on our vaccination and booster strategy, and our approach on community measures as we transition into a COVID19-resilient nation.

2. Sir, we have been experiencing an exponentially rising wave of infections in the community since the 23rd of August. To curb the spread of infection in previous waves, we implemented the Circuit Breaker and Heightened Alert measures, which significantly suppressed the rise of infections. The measures worked but they were painful to families, workers, and businesses. It is also not a sustainable way to battle the virus for the long term.

3. So we will need to open up our social and economic activities, otherwise many people and businesses will suffer and we risk permanently damaging our ability to earn a living. But we have to do so safely, which means reducing the number of people falling very sick to a minimum, and for this, vaccination continues to be key.

4. When we achieved 70% of our population having received the full regimen of the vaccine, the Multi-ministry Taskforce, presented a four stage transition plan. It is a cautious, calibrated approach, not a sudden opening.

5. At this point let me address Mr Jamus Lim, who had a question on delays in our vaccination programme. Our vaccination programme has not been slow at all. We were one of the earliest countries to secure vaccine supplies, with the first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arriving in mid-December 2020, one of the fastest to roll out a comprehensive vaccination programme, and we now have achieved a vaccination coverage that is among the highest in the world. 81% of our population have completed their full regimen, and 85% have received at least one dose as of the 9th of September.

6. Members have asked about the criteria for moving from one stage of the transition plan to the next. I can understand the desire for transparent and pre-determined criteria, this is of great interest to all of us. Other than vaccination rates, we need to also consider case numbers, the transmission trajectory, our social behaviour in adherence to the Safe Management Measurements (SMMs) and the status of the testing regimes. So while we have achieved our vaccination target of 80%, taking all this into account we have decided to pause the transition plan, given the rising number of cases currently. We are not reversing course, neither are we charging ahead.

7. Having studied the safety and efficacy data we will commence our booster programme for the vulnerable. Persons aged 60 years and above may receive a vaccine booster six to nine months after their second dose, while immunocompromised individuals will receive a third dose of the vaccine two months after their second dose. The Expert Committee on COVID-19 vaccination (EC19V) will continue to observe global and local data, particularly on the risk of adverse reactions, before recommending additional population groups for booster vaccines. They are also actively studying the possibility to adopt a heterologous strategy involving non-mRNA vaccines. We are negotiating with suppliers to provide us non-mRNA booster shots, and a few are preparing their applications.

8. We have a deliberate strategy to procure a portfolio of vaccines that use different technologies, to improve our chances of securing vaccines that will continue be safe and effective against COVID-19. Due to commercial sensitivities and confidentiality undertakings in our agreements with vaccine manufacturers, we are unable to disclose more information regarding our current stock of COVID-19 vaccines, the remaining number of doses to be delivered and their delivery schedules.

9. This also applies to our dose-sharing arrangement with Australia. We do not need those particular doses at this point in time, but Australia’s vaccine programme does. We will need more doses in the future as we increase our booster programme, and Australia will return the favour by sending us some doses at the appropriate time.

10. With 81% of our population fully vaccinated, we will close four vaccination centres on the 30th of September 2021 and may scale down other centres. We will also increase the number of Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) which offer vaccinations from 79 currently to around 100 by end of October 2021. Those who are unable to go to our vaccination centres or PHPCs will be visited by our mobile and home vaccination teams.

11. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are strongly encouraged to take up the COVID-19 vaccination because they will benefit from the protection. They are more likely to develop severe symptoms if infected with COVID-19. So they will benefit greatly by getting vaccinations. All of our experts and our professionals, such as the EC19V, the College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in the Academy of Medicine Singapore, and the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Singapore have advised that pregnant and breastfeeding women can receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

12. Since last year, hospitals have facilitated patients who are nursed in isolation settings to have contact with their family and loved ones through video-conferencing. This is an option to consider taking up if one wishes to communicate with a loved one who is hospitalised, without needing to make a physical visit to the hospital.

13. To encourage vaccination take-up, MOH has been working closely with stakeholders to address the concerns of those who have not yet taken their COVID-19 vaccination because of medical complications due to pre-existing diseases, or misinformation over the vaccines and their side-effects, or those who simply do not see the need for vaccinations. MOH has issued clarifications and corrections, and where necessary, applied the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to debunk falsehoods.

14. What we have learnt over the past few months with the Delta variant, is that although vaccines can keep down the numbers of serious cases of COVID-19, but vaccination alone is not enough to prevent infections. It needs to be complemented by pervasive testing and safe management measures to detect and ringfence infections in the community early, so as to control community transmission.

15. We have made available Quick Test Centres to administer supervised self-swabs, but it is also the personal responsibility of individuals to conduct these tests properly.

16. The Vaccinate or Regular Test regime will be introduced on the 1st of October 2021 for workers in higher risk settings. The Government will fund, until the 31st of December 2021, the test kits for employees working in these sectors who are medically ineligible for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. We will continue to review the regime and will make changes later on the basis of the public health assessment.

17. Vaccination differentiated SMMs (VDS) were introduced to protect unvaccinated individuals from being infected with the COVID-19 virus.

18. The F&B industry, the companies and their staff have been responsive and adaptive in implementing VDS requirements for dining-in, and have been educated on the digital and non-digital forms for verification. There have been some teething issues when this was first implemented, but over time they have been sorted out.


19. Mr Speaker, earlier in August, we outlined a four-stage roadmap comprising the Preparatory Stage, Transition Stage A, Transition Stage B and a COVID19-resilient Nation. We continue to work on the basis of this roadmap. Our vaccination and testing efforts, along with our SMMs and all of us exercising social responsibility, implemented together, are vital to us staying the course towards becoming a COVID19-resilient Nation.

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