PM Lee: Vaccines don't have nationalities, S'pore will use vaccines from any source if they're safe & effective

PM Lee said that S'pore didn't go very quickly with the vaccination roll-out as the government wanted to explain to the people and dispel their worries and anxieties.

Julia Yeo | March 14, 2021, 12:24 PM

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Singapore will use vaccines based on its safety and effectiveness, rather than to judge it based on its source, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with BBC on Mar. 14.

Singapore will use Sinovac if it proves to be safe and effective

In response to the interviewer, who asked if Singapore was under pressure to use a Chinese-made vaccine, PM Lee said that there was no basis for people to claim whether a vaccine was good or bad based on it coming from China.

"The Chinese have very capable scientists, biomedical researchers and vaccine researchers. I have no doubt they are capable of making good vaccines," he added.

PM Lee noted that Singapore was still in the midst of evaluating the Sinovac vaccine, and will use it if it passed in terms of safety and effectiveness.

"We will use vaccines from any source. Vaccines do not carry a nationality. Is it good or is it no good? Does it work? If it does, then we will use it," he asserted.

Singapore not moving as quickly with vaccination compared to other countries as there are less cases domestically

In response to a question by the interviewer on why Singapore was not "moving faster" with vaccinations in the country, PM Lee said that there was less pressure to do so, considering that there are less domestic cases in Singapore compared to other countries.

While Singapore had gotten the vaccine supplies early, and started rolling them out early as well, the government had taken time to explain, persuade, and reassure people about getting vaccinated.

"But we hope to do it with due dispatch, and certainly by the end of the year and sooner," he noted.

Vaccinating frontline workers first as they are most vulnerable

When asked why Singapore had chose to vaccinate people by industry, more specifically airport workers and bus drivers first, instead of by age like in the United Kingdom, PM Lee said that Singapore was in a "special position", a different situation than the UK.

"In the UK, you have a widespread outbreak all across the society, so you want to go on a broad basis," PM Lee explained.

"In our case, our society’s infection rates are very low, but we are at risk from our borders, from the frontline", he added.

He mentioned frontline workers at the port, airport, land borders, those working in hospitals, construction workers and migrant workers who are facing the highest risks of transmission, and the need to protect and take care of these workers.

He added that Singapore was also vaccinating by age, starting with those above 70, and progressively work down to the younger age groups.

Top image via Ministry for Communication and Information