Singapore approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Asia first
Singapore became on Monday the first Asian country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine and said it expects to start receiving shots by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 68, said he would be among the early recipients in the city-state of 5.7 million people, which has one of the lowest fatality rates globally from the coronavirus. The government said it expects to have secured enough vaccines for everyone by the third quarter of next year.
“My colleagues and I, including the older ones, will be getting ourselves vaccinated early. This is to show you, especially seniors like me, that we believe the vaccines are safe,” Lee said in a national broadcast, adding that the vaccines would be free, voluntary and given first to healthcare workers and the elderly.
Singapore has also signed advanced purchase agreements and made early down-payments on promising vaccine candidates including those being developed by Moderna and Sinovac, setting aside more than S$1 billion for shots, authorities said.