Singapore receives Asia’s 1st shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines

Dec 22 , 2020. 6 hours ago – 04:10 KYODO NEWS

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant on Dec. 13, 2020, in Portage, Michigan. (Pool/Getty/Kyodo)

SINGAPORE – Singapore received its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for COVID-19 on Monday, becoming the first country in Asia to receive the shots.

“The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines landed in Singapore this evening,” the government said in a short statement.

Singapore Airlines transported the vaccines from Belgium, and the shipment was received by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung at Changi airport.

The airline said it was “the first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipment to be delivered to a country in Asia.”

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced earlier this month that the government had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for pandemic use, and that the first shipment was expected to arrive by the end of this month.

Other vaccines are also on the way in the coming months, and the government aims to have enough vaccines for everyone in the country by the third quarter of next year, Lee said.

He also said that the government will make the vaccinations available for free, but getting inoculated will be voluntary.

Moderna also recently confirmed that it has concluded an agreement with the Singapore government to supply its COVID-19 vaccine to the city-state.

The arrival of the first batch of vaccines comes just as Singapore is about to ease more of the restriction it had imposed in a semi-lockdown that began in April this year to curb the virus’s spread.

Singapore, with a population of about 5.7 million, has reported just over 58,000 cases of infection so far, with most of them occurring in migrant workers’ dormitories.