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Number of Residents Registered for Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine under Special Access Route and Implication for Residents who choose non-mRNA vaccines for non-medical reasons

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Ang Wei Neng
MP for West Coast GRC

Question No. 1688

To ask the Minister for Health what is the current number of Singapore residents who have registered for and are waiting to take (i) the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine and (ii) the Sinovac vaccine as the second vaccine due to allergic reaction to the first dose of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

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

Question No. 1731

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Government has stopped all clinics who are giving Sinovac vaccinations from vaccinating those who are seeking vaccination for both their doses and who are not medically excused from taking the mRNA vaccines; and (b) whether the Government intends to provide the public with free access to non-mRNA vaccines.

Written Answer

I will address Oral Questions 103 and 104 from the Order Paper, and also address Mr Dennis Tan’s question scheduled for tomorrow’s sitting on a similar topic.

Let me start with some background. Early last year, at the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Government negotiated with various pharmaceutical companies to secure supply of vaccines which were still under clinical trials development. At that time, there were no ready vaccines for us to choose from.

Subsequently, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna submitted the required data to the Health Services Authority and was approved for use under our national vaccination programme. Because of advance planning and some fortune, we were able to benefit from these two vaccines that turned out to be highly effective against the COVID-19 virus.

Separately, the Government brought in 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine and allocated 170,000 of it, also for free, to 31 approved private healthcare institutions to administer under the Special Access Route to individuals who wish to take them.

MOH kept a portion of the Sinovac stock to cater to individuals who found out they were allergic to the mRNA vaccines after taking the first dose, and indicated interest to receive the Sinovac vaccine to complete their vaccinations. There are 3,900 of these individuals to date. The various Sinovac vaccinations at public and private healthcare institutions have led to about 1.5% of our population to be vaccinated with Sinovac.

Over time, as the stock depleted, MOH facilitated private healthcare institutions to bring in new supplies of the Sinovac vaccine. The process took a while, which was why the clinics suspended the booking of new appointments. The supplies are expected to arrive around 20 September, barring unforeseen circumstances, and should be available for sale in the private healthcare institutions a few days after.

We have started our booster programme for seniors and individuals who are immunocompromised, using the mRNA vaccines. The EC19V is reviewing international data to consider a booster programme for younger age groups. It is also studying a heterologous strategy, i.e. administering a non-mRNA booster shot that is different from the first two primary mRNA doses. If indeed we decide to proceed on such a booster strategy, the shots will also be administered free of charge to residents of Singapore.

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