S’pore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen receives COVID-19 jab alongside SAF, MINDEF personnel

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen last week received his first COVID-19 jab, alongside the first batch of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers who received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (21 January), Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said that the aforementioned vaccination exercise took place on 14 January at the MINDEF Medical Centre.

Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad also took part in the vaccination exercise last Thursday.

They will be receiving their second dose 21 days later.

Chief of Medical Corps Colonel (COL) Lo Hong Yee was also vaccinated in the same exercise.

Describing the jab as “smooth and painless”, Dr Ng said: “We want to do (the vaccination) safely and with the experience that I’ve had, they’ve worked out the processes very well.”

Vaccination, he added, will help to accelerate the smooth functioning of the SAF amid the pandemic.

Mr Zaqy described the process as being “fast and efficient”, and encouraged all SAF personnel to get on board with the vaccination programme.

“It is a priority for us to ensure the safety of our servicemen and women, as well as for their families and loved ones to be kept safe,” he stressed.

Getting vaccinated, added Mr Zaqy, will allow the SAF to resume and sustain its tempo of training.

Dr Ng highlighted that SAF’s medical and COVID-19 frontline personnel will be prioritised in the vaccination exercise in this phase, followed by personnel who are in critical units before moving on to the rest of the SAF.

This phase, including the second dose, is expected to be completed within six weeks.

All active SAF service personnel who are medically eligible to be vaccinated will be able to receive the vaccination, said MINDEF.

Wide vaccination coverage in the SAF will protect our servicemen and women, support the SAF’s operational readiness and enable the wider resumption of training and force generation activities, the Ministry added.

Dr Ng and Mr Zaqy were among several political leaders who have been vaccinated against the virus as part of the mass inocculation drive in Singapore.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is the latest politician to receive a jab of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

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 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.

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.

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