A 46-year-old nurse became the first in Singapore to receive Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, placing the city-state among the first Asian countries to launch a vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.
Sarah Lim, a senior nurse at the National Center for Infectious Diseases, is the first of more than 30 staff members at the center, vaccinated on Wednesday, the health ministry said. They will be back on January 20 for the second dose of the vaccine.
“I feel very grateful and thankful for being the first to be vaccinated in Singapore,” said Lim, who helps screen suspected COVID-19 cases. In recorded remarks provided by the health ministry, she said she hoped to encourage others to get vaccinated.
Singapore is the first country in Asia to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. He also signed upfront purchasing agreements and early payments to many other vaccine candidates, including those developed by Moderna and Sinovac.
It expects to have sufficient vaccine doses for all 5.7 million people by the third quarter of 2021.
Singapore has quickly taken action after the first cases of the virus were reported, and despite being blinded by tens of thousands of cases in migrant workers’ dormitories, only a few new cases have been reported in the past two months. The country has one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world; Only 29 people died from the virus.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 68, said he and his colleagues would be among the first recipients of the vaccine to show that the vaccine is safe. They will be free and voluntary, but the government encourages all medically fit residents to take them.
Under the emergency use program launched in July, China is vaccinating certain groups of people thought to be at high risk of infection, such as healthcare workers and border inspectors. Their vaccines are still in late-stage clinical trials.
In Japan and South Korea, the US military has embarked on the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines, prioritizing frontline healthcare workers.
Some Filipino soldiers and cabinet ministers received COVID-19 vaccine injections even before regulatory approval. -reuters-