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SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong became the first member of the Singapore government to receive his COVID-19 vaccine on Friday (8 January), when he took his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine along with staff members at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
After a small-scale vaccination test run at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on 30 December, Friday was the official launch of vaccinations for healthcare workers, as public healthcare institutions, including hospitals and polyclinics, began vaccinations for their staff.
SGH estimated about 90 of its employees will get vaccinated on the first day.
After taking his vaccination jab, PM Lee told reporters, “I took the opportunity to have my own jab this morning and now I'm done – 30 minutes waited, nothing happened.
“I’ve got my card, and the appointment to come back in three weeks' time. It's painless, it's effective. And it's important.”
He urged people to get inoculated when they can, and added that there are ample vaccines coming in.
“We ordered them early, we have enough for everybody in Singapore – all the residents or the citizens, and even the non-citizens who are staying here,” he said.
“We are going to roll this out progressively over the next few months, hopefully be done by the third quarter of the year, latest by end of the year. It will make us safer, and it will make you and your loved ones safer too, so please take it when you can.”
Besides PM Lee, the Ministry of Health’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak, who is part of the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, also received his first dose of the vaccine on Friday.
Having secured its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines last month, Singapore plans to roll out its free public vaccination as early as next month. PM Lee said last month that vaccination will be voluntary, but highly recommended.
The vaccine requires two doses taken 21 days apart, and it will take up to 14 more days after the second dose to achieve maximum protection against the virus.
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