We will not be bought, bullied, or intimidated into approving any vaccine: Vivian Balakrishnan

An example of a way Singapore conducts its foreign policy, the minister said.

Julia Yeo | March 02, 2021, 05:55 PM

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Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan stressed during a Parliament sitting on Mar. 1 that Singapore will make its decisions on vaccines "on the basis of science and healthcare needs", and will not be influenced by external forces on such matters.

Singapore cannot be "bought" or "bullied" into approving any vaccine

"We cannot be bought; we cannot be bullied; we cannot be intimidated into either approving or disapproving any vaccine," said the foreign minister, in response to a question by Workers' Party (WP) MP Sylvia Lim, who noted that the distribution relationship of Covid-19 vaccines across the world were reflective of a certain "power play in some traditional alliances".

"This is just another example of the way we conduct foreign policy," Vivian said.

As the world acknowledges the attitude Singapore takes when making decisions regarding vaccines, he noted that Singapore becomes "a rather important reference customer".

Singapore has contributed to global Covid-19 fight

As a form of "risk-pooling", Singapore has contributed US$5 million (S$6.6 million) to the Advance Market Commitment under the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, which guarantees a certain amount of access to Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Putting money into the kitty does entitle Singapore to its fair share of Covid-19 vaccines on the basis of full market price, said the minister, but a significant sum will still be committed to help other developing countries that are less well-off.

Besides the contribution to COVAX, Vivian mentioned that Singapore has also made other significant contributions to the global fight against the pandemic.

"We had separately been giving test kits, PCR machines, PPE, and other donations," Vivian said. "To be honest, we have not beat our drum about it, but good work has been done, and it has been appreciated by our neighbours."

In the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, Singapore made donations of medical supplies, test kits, and PCR machines to neighbours including China, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines.

Top image via MCI/YouTube, MOH