14th Oct 2020
Mr Gan Thiam Poh
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
Question No. 148
To ask the Minister for Health (a) how does the Government intend to vaccinate Singaporeans once the COVID-19 vaccine is available; (b) whether the Government will consider providing free vaccination for all Singaporeans; (c) what is the progress on the joint development with all established overseas vaccine producers and makers; (d) whether the Government is prepared to have the vaccine produced in Singapore; and (e) whether Singaporeans have participated in the clinical trial of the vaccines in development and, if so, what is the progress so far.
1 The Government is developing a vaccination strategy based on several factors, including the suitability of different vaccines for different population subgroups and the quantity of vaccines available at any point in time. Our approach aims to protect individuals who are more vulnerable or at higher risk from the disease, as well as those who may be more likely to be exposed to infection, while progressively expanding the coverage of vaccination to the rest of our population. The financing framework for the vaccinations would take into consideration the overall vaccination strategy and the cost of the vaccines. We will adapt our strategy accordingly as more information from the various vaccine candidates become available.
2 We are also involved in different vaccine development initiatives in Singapore. Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School is collaborating with a United States biotechnology company, Arcturus Therapeutics, to develop an mRNA vaccine. The combined Phase 1 and 2 human clinical trial for this vaccine candidate started in early August at the SingHealth Investigational Medicine Unit (IMU) and about 70 participants have since been recruited. The study is expected to be completed later in the year. Separately, we are also building up vaccine manufacturing capacity, which can provide fill-and-finish contract manufacturing services to vaccine developers and ramp up production of vaccines when they are available.