Singapore working on securing portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines

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Singapore, Nov 10 (PTI) Singapore will work towards securing a 'portfolio' of COVID-19 vaccines to cater to different segments of the population instead of relying on one vaccine, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a virtual press conference by the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, Gan said that the application of a vaccine will have to take into account varying efficacy and safety profiles for different groups.

'Some vaccines may be effective for different segments of the population. Some may not be effective for children...and some may not be effective for seniors,' The Straits Times quoted Gan as saying.

Gan added that even when vaccines become available, it will have to be given out progressively as it is not possible to vaccinate the entire nation at once.

Negotiations with various pharmaceutical companies that are conducting clinical trials are ongoing, added Gan.

An expert committee on COVID-19 vaccination set up last month will assess the data coming out of the trials and advise the ministry on its vaccination strategy, said the minister.

He said details about which vaccines will make the list and which segments of the population will receive a vaccine are still being worked out.

The Health Ministry's director of medical services, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, noted that one vaccine candidate developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer was recently found to be more than 90 per cent effective.

While this is welcome news, Prof Mak said more information is needed about the Pfizer vaccine and others that are close to finishing phase three trials.

For instance, if vaccines do not provide long-lasting immunity, a patient may need repeated vaccinations instead of a single dose. PTI GS NSA

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