Politicians do not want to be accused of “jumping the queue”, wish to prioritise healthcare workers: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, on why Singapore’s leaders have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Ministers, senior civil servants and politicians do not want to be accused of jumping the gun or jumping the queue ahead of others in Singapore, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Monday (4 January) on why they have reportedly yet to take up the available vaccine against COVID-19.

Healthcare workers, in particular, are exposed to potential infection when caring for their patients, and this is why they are prioritised in the vaccination exercise, he said.

Professor Leo Yee Sin, the executive director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, was among the first in the country to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to assure the public that the vaccination process is safe, noted Mr Gan.

“When our time comes, I’m sure all my colleagues will be very happy to step forward to get vaccinated,” he said. he said.

Reiterating that while the Government encourages the Singapore population to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, Mr Gan also said today that vaccinations should be on a voluntary basis.

Groups most at risk of contracting the virus will be prioritised for vaccination, starting with healthcare workers, swabbers, officers at quarantine centres and other frontline workers. This will be followed next month by elderly people aged 70 and above.

Workers in industries with a high risk of “super-spreading” of COVID-19 such as the construction and marine industries will also be among those prioritised for vaccination.

Mr Gan said that those who have been vaccinated will receive a physical card to remind them of their next appointment for the second dose of vaccine, as well as to know which vaccine was given to them and to seek post-vaccination advice.

They will also have their records updated in the National Immunisation Registry. They will also be able to check on their status online, said Mr Gan.

Responding to a question from Sembawang GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak on the number of COVID-19 vaccines that have been secured for Singapore, Mr Gan said that while the Government is not able to specify such due to confidentiality clauses in advance purchase agreements with the vaccine manufacturers, Singapore could have enough vaccines for the population by the third quarter of this year if everything goes as planned.

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