Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is the latest politician to receive a jab of Pfizer-BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine, joining an array of political leaders who have been vaccinated against the virus as part of the mass inoculation drive in Singapore.
Revealing this in a Facebook post, DPM Heng said that he received the first dose of the vaccine on Wednesday morning (20 January) at the National Centre of Infectious Diseases (NCID).
Prior to being injected with the vaccine, Mr Heng said that he was asked to go through a medical questionnaire with the doctor for any possible contraindications.
“Prior to getting the vaccination, I sat down with Dr Shawn Vasoo to run through the medical questionnaire. The vaccine is safe and effective, even for former stroke patients like myself,” Mr Heng explained.
In May 2016, Mr Heng had collapsed during a Cabinet meeting after suffering a stroke caused by a ruptured aneurysm. He went back to work in August that year.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said that the Government is progressively rolling out the country’s vaccination strategy in the few weeks, and encouraged everyone to get themselves vaccinated when it is their turn.
“During my East Coast Conversation with residents about Phase 3 on Sunday, vaccination was understandably the top discussion topic. We are progressively rolling out our national vaccination strategy in the coming weeks and months,” the DPM said.
He continued: “I strongly encourage you to take it up when it becomes available to you. This will not only protect you, but also your loved ones and our community.”
Describing the experience, DPM Heng said in another Facebook post that it was “painless and done in less than 10 seconds.”
Singapore received its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong kicked off the nationwide drive to vaccinate staff across public healthcare institutions on the island by receiving the shot himself on 8 January morning.
He received the vaccine along with the Ministry of Health’s Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak and 88 healthcare workers from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Besides PM Lee, COVID-19 ministerial taskforce co-chairs Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Education Minister Lawrence Wong, as well as Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, have also received their first doses of the vaccine.
They will receive the second dose of the vaccine around 21 days after getting the first dose.