SINGAPORE BECOMES 1ST ASIAN NATION TO APPROVE PFIZER VACCINE, FIRST SHOTS LIKELY BY MONTH END

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Singapore: Singapore has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine and expects delivery of the first shots by the end of December, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.

Singapore, with the population of 5.7 million people, expects to have enough vaccines for everyone by the third quarter of 2021 and will make it free for citizens and long-term residents, Lee said.

While vaccination will be voluntary, Lee said he and other government officials would be among the early recipients along with healthcare workers, other front-line personnel, the elderly and the vulnerable.

“My colleagues and I, including the older ones, will be getting ourselves vaccinated early. This is to show you, especially seniors like me, that we believe the vaccines are safe,” Lee said in a national broadcast.

Singapore has also signed advanced purchase agreements and made early down-payments on promising vaccine candidates including those being developed by Moderna and Sinovac, setting aside more than $1 billion for shots, authorities said.