Sinovac vaccine will be used only when HSA gives approval
Singapore has received about 200,000 doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine as part of advanced purchases made last year, but these will not be used until the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has approved the vaccine.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday that the HSA has asked the Chinese vaccine-maker for more data, so it can make an "adequate, full assessment".
The HSA is unable to complete its evaluation and give its provisional approval until that additional data is submitted, said the Health Ministry's director of medical services Kenneth Mak.
They were responding to a question during a virtual multi-ministry task force press conference on why Singapore received the Sinovac vaccine before the HSA had authorised it, and whether the Republic was unable to turn down the shipments because it "wanted to avoid potentially upsetting Beijing".
The first shipment from Sinovac arrived in Singapore last month.
Mr Gan said the delivery was made under a contract with the vaccine-maker. He noted that having the Sinovac vaccines ready in Singapore will also speed up its roll-out once approval is given.
Singapore had made advanced purchase agreements for three vaccines - the ones developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Sinovac - even before any approvals were made. These agreements included a timeline on when the manufacturers would deliver the vaccines.
By making advanced purchase agreements, the Government was making some bets on the vaccines, recognising that some may not be effective, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong. "We wanted to do so early, so we would be early in the queue," he added. - THE STRAITS TIMES