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The details of the donation of vaccines to Johor in Malaysia are still being discussed with the relevant parties, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said. — Reuters pic
The details of the donation of vaccines to Johor in Malaysia are still being discussed with the relevant parties, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said. — Reuters pic

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SINGAPORE, Sept 9 — Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) today confirmed that the country would donate about 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to the Malaysian state of Johor, in a move that would “boost the overall resilience” of the region.

In response to questions from TODAY, MOH said that the specifics of the donation were still being discussed with the relevant parties, including pharmaceutical companies.

“By extending mutual support and assisting our neighbouring countries, we help boost the overall resilience of our region,” it added.

On Monday, Malaysian news media quoted Johor’s chief minister Hasni Mohammad as saying that Singapore would contribute more than 100,000 doses of the vaccine produced by American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech to the state.

Separately, the Malaysian state would get 300,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine from the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Hasni added that as a sign of close ties between Johor and Singapore, Singapore had already donated 20,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine to Johor on July 29.

Aside from Johor, Singapore’s authorities announced last month that the country had contributed 100,000 doses of the vaccine developed by American company Moderna to Brunei.

Earlier this month, Singapore and Australia also said that both countries would be swopping 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Singapore would deliver 500,000 doses of the vaccine to Australia in the first week of this month and receive the same number from Australia in December.

In its response today, MOH said that Singapore had achieved a high vaccination rate — 81 per cent as of Tuesday — and had vaccine stock, all of which have expiry dates.

In the meantime, neighbouring countries are in need of vaccines as they ramp up their vaccination programmes. Singapore’s demand for vaccine boosters, however, will pick up only early next year, MOH added.

“Given these considerations, it makes sense to channel vaccines to where they are needed most in our region, through donations and swop arrangements.”

The Singapore Government said last week that persons with weakened immune systems and seniors would be eligible for booster Covid-19 vaccine shots starting sometime this month, depending on when they had their earlier two doses.

It is also studying the possibility of giving booster shots to younger adults. — TODAY

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