S'pore hedged its bets & ordered vaccines from multiple suppliers in case of delays: PM Lee

PM Lee acknowledged the psychological cost of the loss of social interaction.

Syahindah Ishak | February 12, 2021, 02:57 PM

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Jan. 22 that there would be some shipment delays of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines due to the upgrading of Pfizer’s manufacturing plant.

But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he is "reasonably confident" Singapore will get the vaccines we need this year.

Visited essential workers on Feb. 12

PM Lee was speaking on the first day of Chinese New Year (Feb. 12), while visiting essential workers at Changi General Hospital and Singapore Airlines.

Image courtesy of Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

Image courtesy of MCI.

Multiple suppliers

PM Lee said that Singapore has hedged its bets against possible supply disruptions by ordering and pre-ordering vaccines from multiple suppliers.

"I hope that not all of them will get disrupted," he added.

PM Lee also said that Singapore's vaccination programmes might have to "stretch out a bit" depending on the disruptions and delays of the vaccines.

However, he stressed that Singapore will have to keep up its safe management measures for a longer period, and people had to strictly abide by them.

Image courtesy of MCI.

Image courtesy of MCI.

Change in behaviour

PM Lee cautioned that even as life returns to a kind of normality, people will have to adjust their behaviour and expectations.

He acknowledged that people are social, and we will miss human contact and interaction.

"We are social creatures - and you want to see people, you want to have friends to chat, and not have to be always on guard; did I sanitise my hand; can I sit a bit closer - it goes against all your normal instincts to hug and be close to somebody."

That is a psychological cost that people will have to bear, he said.

Large-scale gatherings like raves and beach parties will also have to be curtailed for now.

Image courtesy of MCI.

Image courtesy of MCI.

Image courtesy of MCI.

Image courtesy of MCI.

Must continue to live with Covid-19

PM Lee also revealed that the vaccination of seniors will begin on Feb. 22, with the multi-ministry task force to announce further details.

But even if most residents in Singapore are vaccinated, PM Lee warned that this does not mean that life can go back to how it was pre-Covid.

It does not mean that everyone will be completely safe, he added.

"Some will not be vaccinated — they will remain vulnerable. Our borders will not be able to be completely closed, people will have to travel from time to time.

Cases will come in and we will have to deal with them. We will have to move to living with Covid-19 in some form for quite some time."

Top image from Prime Minister's Office video.