Singapore in talks with major suppliers on regional distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

Gurdip Singh
·1-min read

Singapore, Dec 21 (PTI) Singapore is in talks with major suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines on the possibility of being a regional distributor and playing a part in the final stages of vaccine production, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Monday.

Chan, however, did not specify which pharmaceutical firms Singapore was in talks with.

His remarks came a week after Singapore’s authorities announced that the country had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use here, with the first shipment set to arrive this month.

“We have plans to work with the major suppliers, not so much on the production itself — which is done in Europe and the United States — but if there's a possibility for us to do what we call ‘fill and finish’ to help in the global distribution,” TODAY newspaper quoted Chan as saying on the sidelines of a visit to Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Fill and finish refers to the process of filling vials with a vaccine and packaging it for distribution. It is common for vaccine manufacturers to use third parties to fill and package their vaccines. In his live televised address to the nation last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that several pharmaceutical firms have established vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Singapore.

He added that the government was also supporting vaccine development efforts here as an “insurance”, in case global supply chains were disrupted.

Singapore has reported a total of 58,432 COVID-19 cases so far with 29 deaths. PTI GS NSA