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Covid-19 vaccine likely to be widely available only at the end of 2021: MOH official

SINGAPORE — A vaccine for Covid-19 is likely to be widely available only at the end of 2021, the director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Covid-19 vaccine likely to be widely available only at the end of 2021: MOH official

Singapore is not banking on any individual vaccine candidate and the Government has plans to diversify access to a vaccine, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak said.

SINGAPORE — A vaccine for Covid-19 is likely to be widely available only at the end of 2021, the director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.  

Associate Professor Kenneth Mak was speaking on Friday (July 24) at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force handling the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that while some vaccine studies have started, given the global demand, a vaccine may be produced in sufficient doses only around the end of next year.

He also said that Singapore is “extremely interested” in working with various pharmaceutical companies with the view of being able to gain access to promising vaccine candidates.

“Once proven that they are efficacious and safe, it’s our intent to bring enough doses to Singapore to benefit our population.”

Singapore is not banking on any individual vaccine candidate and the Government has plans to diversify access to a vaccine, he added.

Singapore has also registered its interest in the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (Covax) Facility, Assoc Prof Mak said.

WHO has described the facility as a way to “guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access” to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.

So far, 75 countries have submitted expressions of interest.

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, who was also speaking at the press conference, said that Singapore has a few initiatives that are ongoing including research work that involves collaborations with overseas partners.

He said that he was not able to disclose all the details but “suffice to say, Singapore is working proactively with partners on research efforts and advance procurement”.

Early data from trials of three potential Covid-19 vaccines released on Monday, including a closely watched candidate from Oxford University, has increased confidence that a vaccine can train the immune system to fight the coronavirus without serious side effects.

Oxford University had said that its vaccine had produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, preserving hopes that it could be in use by the end of the year but added that there was no certainty that that would happen. 

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