COVID-19 in Singapore: Vaccination Exercise in Singapore

Jump to navigation Jump to search

On 14 December 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by United States pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech, was approved in Singapore.[1] The first shipment of the vaccine later arrived in Singapore on 21 December 2020.[2]

Healthcare workers were given first priority to the vaccine.[3] National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) senior staff nurse Sarah Lim received the first dose ever administered in Singapore on 30 December 2020.[4]

Total number of administered vaccinations in Singapore

As of 30 June 2021, a total of 5,485,548 COVID-19 vaccination doses were administered in Singapore. Of this figure, 3,376,297 people received at least their first dose, and 2,109,251 people received both doses.[5]

Below is a breakdown of administered vaccinations by age group.[5]

Age group (years old) 12-39 40-44 45-59 60-69 70 and above All age groups

(total population)

Received first dose 52% 76% 84% 85% 70% 59.2%
Completed second dose 18% 20% 73% 77% 65% 37%

*As of 30 June 2021

Singapore aims to have two-thirds of its population fully vaccinated by 9 August 2021.[6] In order to reach this target, it accelerated its vaccination programme from 26 June 2021 onwards, increasing the daily doses from 47,000 to 80,000.[7]

Types of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Singapore

The vaccines that are currently available in Singapore are administered in two stages: a priming shot first, followed by a booster shot.[8] Depending on which type is administered, the interval between both shots will vary. Below are detailed explanations of each type of vaccine administered in Singapore:


The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech.[9] First approved for use in Singapore on 14 December 2020,[1] this vaccine has a high efficacy rate of 95% based on clinical trials performed on 40,000 people aged 16 years and older.[10]

This vaccine is messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based. This means that it is composed of genetic instructions that produce trace amounts of COVID-19’s spike proteins upon entering the body. The body will then produce antibodies that grant us immunity to the virus.[11]

The interval between the first and second doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 21 days.[9]


The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured by Cambridge biotechnology company Moderna TX, Inc.[12] On 14 December 2020, Moderna confirmed a supply agreement with Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH).[13]

On 3 February 2021, the Moderna vaccine was approved by the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore (HSA). It was noted to have a high efficacy rate of 94% based on a clinical trial conducted on 30,000 people in the United States.[14] The first shipment of the Moderna vaccine was then delivered to Singapore on 17 February 2021.[15]

Similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is mRNA-based.[11]

The interval between the first and second doses for the Moderna vaccine is 28 days.[11]


The Cominarty COVID-19 vaccine is the official brand name of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.[16]

According to Scott Piergrossi, Brand Institute president of operations and communications, “the name is coined from Covid-19 immunity, and then embeds the mRNA in the middle, which is the platform technology, and as a whole the name is meant to evoke the word community.”[17]

MOH released a statement stating that Singapore began receiving shipments of the Comirnaty vaccine on 23 June 2021.[18] As the vaccine is the same as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it will be marked as Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty in official patient records.[19]

Sinovac (special restrictions)

The Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine, or the Sinovac vaccine for short, is manufactured by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd.[20] On 1 June 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved Sinovac for emergency use.[21]

At a press conference, WHO chief Tedro Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his confidence over the vaccine, stating that it was “found to be safe, effective, and quality-assured.”[22]

Following WHO’s announcement, MOH announced that Sinovac could be administered in Singapore, but only through the Special Access Route (SAR). Under the SAR,[23] 24 private healthcare institutions were first chosen to administer the Sinovac vaccine on 16 June 2021.[24] 7 more healthcare institutions were added to the list on 2 July 2021.[25]

As the Sinovac vaccine is not part of the national vaccine programme, its costs are not defrayed under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme.[26] The full list of 31 approved private healthcare institutions and their prices are listed in the table below:[27]

Name of healthcare institution Address of healthcare institution Contact


Fees for one dose of Sinovac


1 Medical Teck Ghee Blk 410 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01- 837 Teck Ghee Square S(560410) 6251 7030 20
Braddell Medical Clinic Blk 124 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh #01-489 S(310124) 6253 6288 20
Chinatown Wellness Clinic 531 Upper Cross Street #02-02 Hong Lim Complex S(050531) 6226 7188 25
Chua Medical Clinic And Surgery Pte. Ltd. Blk 642 Bukit Batok Central #01-52 S(650642) 9843 6958 25
Dedicare Medical Practice & Surgery @ Hougang Blk 419 Hougang Avenue 8 #01-K1 S(530419) 6980 3066 18
Doctors for Life Medical 3 Pickering Street #01-02 Nankin Row S(048660) 6909 0527 25
Doctors Koo, Loh & Associates (Pte) Ltd Blk 152 Yung Ho Rd #B1-03 S(610152) 6266 5939 25
EHA Clinic @ Jurong Blk 492 Jurong West Street 41 #01-40 S(640492) 6566 0257 25
Elisa Koh Clinic & Surgery For Women 38 Irrawaddy Road #06-26/27 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre S(329563) 6334 1696 10.70
HeartlandHealth (Bedok South) Blk 18 Bedok South Road #01-69 S(460018) 6241 8812 20
HeartlandHealth (Bukit Batok) Blk 164 Bukit Batok Street 11 #01-152 S(650164) 6873 2458 20
HeartlandHealth (Circuit Road) Blk 88 Circuit Road #01-965 Macpherson Oasis S(370088) 6547 8840 20
HeartlandHealth (New Upper Changi Road) Blk 59 New Upper Changi Road #01-1268 S(461059) 6445 3100 20
iCare Medical and Wellness Clinic Blk 22 Havelock Road #01-701 S(160022) 6274 6858 25
Icon Cancer Centre Farrer Park 1 Farrer Park Station Road #09-13 to 20 Farrer Park Medical Centre S(217562) 6604 9919 25
Icon Cancer Centre Mount Alvernia 820 Thomson Road #05-03/04 Mount Alvernia Medical Centre A S(574623) 6252 2202 25
Icon Health Screening 10 Sinaran Drive #09-04 Novena Medical Center S(307506) 6970 5200 25
Integrated Wellness Clinic 8 Sinaran Drive #05-04 Novena Specialist Center S(307470) 6250 7623 25
Little Cross Family Clinic Blk 929 Tampines St 91 #01-445 S(520929) 6544 0040 14
Mediview Clinic and Surgery Blk 150 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-999 S(310150) 6253 2351 25
Pinnacle Family Clinic (Pasir Ris) Blk 571 Pasir Ris Street 53 #01-50 S(510571) 6243 7338 23.54
Pinnacle Family Clinic (Serangoon North) Blk 518 Serangoon North Avenue 4 #B1-208 S(550518) 6219 3910 23.54
Pinnacle Family Clinic (Woodlands) Blk 573 Woodlands Drive 16 #01-06 S(730573) 6760 1623 23.54
Pinnacle Family Clinic (Yew Tee) Blk 790 Choa Chu Kang North 6 #01-238 S(680790) 6235 7893 23.54
Pulse Clinic Pte Ltd Blk 38 Beo Crescent #01-32 The Beo Crescent S(160038) 6272 4145 25
Rophi Clinic 38 Irrawaddy Road #07-54/55 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre S(329563) 6694 5698 21.40
Starmed Specialist Centre Pte Ltd 12 Farrer Park Station Road #01- 05/06/07/08/09 S(217565) 6322 6333 25
Thomson GP Clinic 2 Balestier Road #01-671 Balestier Hill Shopping Centre S(320002) 6933 8377 20
Thomson Wellth Clinic 290 Orchard Road #19-01 The Paragon S(238859) 6735 0300 20
Wee HealthFirst Medical Clinic Blk 378 Clementi Avenue 5 #01-342 S(120378) 6777 5755 10
Yim Medical Centre (Admiralty MRT) 678 Woodlands Ave 6 #01-722 S(730678) 6893 9181 25

*Prices are inclusive of consultation, administration, and 7% GST.

On 2 July 2021, the Government offered to administer Sinovac to some 3,600 people who had experienced allergic reactions to the mRNA vaccines used under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme. These vaccinations will be performed free of charge.[28]

Sinovac works differently from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, utilising an inactivated virus instead of an mRNA.[10] The inactivated virus is a dead virus sample that triggers a similar immune response to the other two vaccines, signalling the body to create antibodies.

The interval between the first and second doses for the Sinovac vaccine is 21 days.[29]

How COVID-19 vaccinations are administered in Singapore

Vaccinations in Singapore are administered in two doses[30] at vaccination centres set up in community centres (CCs).[31] Vaccinations are strictly performed by appointment.[32]

To set up appointments, one must first register their interest at[33] Upon receiving a confirmation text message enclosing a 10-character code from MOH, one can then book appointments for their first and second doses.[34]

The minimum interval between the two doses is four weeks.[35] This is down from the six to eight weeks stipulated on 19 May 2021.[36] “This will ensure that more of our population can now be fully vaccinated earlier,” the ministry said in a press statement.[37]

Those who had booked their second dose six to eight weeks after their first dose before the announcement are permitted to bring forward their appointment to just four weeks later.

Possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is known to induce side effects, which are normal signs that the body is building immunity to the virus. Below is a list of MOH’s identified side effects and how to manage them:[38]

Side Effects How to Manage
Injection site: Pain, inflammation, and swelling Fever: Stay at home until the fever calms down.

Pain management: Take 1 to 2 paracetamol tablets every 6 hours where necessary.

Fever and chills
Headache, muscle aches, and joint pain
Tiredness or fatigue Bed rest
Lymph node swelling at neck and/or arms Will naturally subside in 1 or 2 weeks

Under rare circumstances, the vaccine may trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of the face, throat, eyes, or lips
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Rash that covers the whole body

When an allergic reaction is observed in a person, he or she is not to follow up with the second dose. Instead, they should first seek medical attention. Thereafter, they may submit an application to take the Sinovac vaccine under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme.26

Key milestones of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise in Singapore

Vaccination exercise begins for healthcare and frontline workers

COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore. Photo from The Straits Times.
Senior staff nurse Sarah Lim is the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore.

Singapore’s vaccination exercise officially began on 30 December 2020.[4] Senior staff nurse Sarah Lim, 46, of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) was the first person to receive the vaccination. 39 other healthcare workers from the NCID also received their vaccinations on the same day.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong describes the beginning of the vaccination exercise in Singapore as a significant milestone in Singapore’s efforts to combat the virus:

"Today we began COVID-19 vaccinations, with 30+ healthcare workers at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. It marks a new chapter in our fight against the pandemic."[39]

This first round of vaccinations also posited Singapore as the first country in Asia to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens.[40]

Consequently, the rest of the NCID staff and other National Healthcare Group frontline workers were given the vaccine.[4]

Vaccination exercise extended to land transport workers

Starting from 25 January 2021, the vaccination was administered to 80,000 land transport workers.[41] Bus and train operator employees formed the first batch of 12,000 workers whom the first dose was administered to.

Later on 23 February 2021, around 300 taxi and private-hire car drivers received their first jabs at the former Hong Kah Secondary School.[42] By the end of the same week, the vaccination was offered to more than 50,000 other drivers.

Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Transport, believes that the vaccination is crucial for these drivers:

"Vaccination is another means to protect themselves, their families and their community. It will give them greater peace of mind, as well as give greater assurance to their commuters."[42]

Pilot vaccination exercise begins for senior citizens

Although the Singapore Government initially aimed to begin administering the vaccine to the elderly aged 70 and above in February 2021,[4] it later brought this date forward to 27 January 2021 as part of a pilot programme to speed up the country’s vaccination rate.[43]

The pilot programme opened with invitations sent to 5,000 to 10,000 senior citizens from Ang Mo Kio and Tanjong Pagar to get vaccinated. Community vaccination centres were set up at Tanjong Pagar Community Club (CC) and Teck Ghee CC in Ang Mo Kio to facilitate the vaccination process.[4]

The elderly received assistance to navigate the vaccination process, with volunteers trained to teach them how to make bookings online and help guides written in different languages.[41] According to Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force,

“This process will take a bit of time. So we will also step up our outreach and engagement efforts, particularly to the elderly across all our HDB estates, to let them know what this is about, give them more information in different languages, and also to help them with the booking because not everybody will be familiar with the IT system.”[41]

Vaccination exercise extended to all senior citizens

An elderly man turning up for his vaccination appointment. Photo from The Straits Times.
An elderly man turning up for his vaccination appointment. Photo from The Straits Times.

Following the positive response rate from the pilot programme, the Government proceeded to extend the vaccination to the rest of the elderly population on 22 February 2021.[44]

By 8 March 2021, the first dose had been administered to more than 55,000 senior citizens, with at least 96,000 others having scheduled appointments to get their first dose.[45]

Consequently, vaccination for senior citizens aged between 60 and 69 years was brought forward from end-March to 8 March 2021.

Vaccination exercise extended to younger age groups

By 23 March 2021, MOH recorded that a total of 1,109,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been doled out. Of this figure, more than 799,000 people have received at least the first dose, while at least 310,000 have completed the full vaccination regimen.[46]

As a result, MOH made the decision to extend the vaccination programme to younger age groups, starting from people aged 45 to 59 years old.

Vaccination exercise progressively rolled out to students

Starting from 1 June 2021, MOH and the Ministry of Education (MOE) progressively administered the vaccine to over 400,000 students from schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).[47]

Under this exercise, the HSA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for students aged below 16 years old, while students aged 18 and above are allowed to choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Singapore’s vaccination rate approaches 50%

Singaporeans waiting in the observation areas after receiving their vaccine. Photo from Today Online.
Singaporeans waiting in the observation areas after receiving their vaccine. Photo from Today Online.

After MOH rolled out the vaccine to the rest of Singapore’s population from 26 June 2021 onwards,[48] Singapore fast-tracked its vaccination programme and was able to fully vaccinate 2.5 million people, or 45% of its total population.[49]

As of 15 July 2021, at least 4 million people, or 75% of the total population, had received at least the first dose.

References / Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 Abdullah, Zhaki. "Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approved by Singapore, first shipment expected by end-December.” Channel News Asia." December 15 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  2. Chew, Hui Min. "First shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Singapore”. Channel News Asia. December 21, 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  3. Lim, Min Zhang. "Healthcare workers to receive Covid-19 vaccine from Dec 30, S’pore residents aged 70 and older from Feb ’21: MOH." The Straits Times. December 21, 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Ang, Hwee Min. "NCID nurse becomes first person in Singapore to receive COVID-19 vaccine." Channel News Asia. December 31 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Update On Local Covid-19 Situation (1 July 2021).” Ministry of Health. July 1 2021, Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  6. Pazos, Rebecca and Adeline, Stephanie. "Singapore aims to vaccinate 2 in 3 residents against Covid-19 by National Day: Are we on track?" The Straits Times. July 2 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  7. Baharudin, Hariz. "Covid-19 vaccinations in overdrive in Singapore." The Straits Times. June 26 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  8. Branswell, Helen. "Comparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson." Stat. Feb 2 2021. Accessed 7 July, 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Oliver, Sarah "The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 2020." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 18, 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Tracking the Covid-19 vaccine development race.” The Straits Times." January 25 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  12. "Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  13. "Moderna Confirms Supply Agreement with the Ministry of Health to Supply Singapore with mRNA Vaccine Against COVID-19 (mRNA-1273).” Moderna, Inc. December 14 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  14. Lai, Linette. "S'pore approves Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine; first shipment to arrive around March." The Straits Times. February 3 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  15. Toh, Ting Wei. "First shipment of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Singapore ahead of schedule.” The Straits Times." February 17 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  16. "Comirnaty.” European Medicines Agency. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  17. Bulik, Beth Snyder. "The inside story behind Pfizer and BioNTech's new vaccine brand name, Cominarty." Fierce Pharma. December 23 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  18. "Update on Vaccine Category Name - MOH.” Ministry of Health Singapore. June 23 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  19. Ng, Michelle. "Singapore to receive batch of Covid-19 vaccines, called Comirnaty, that are same as Pfizer's: MOH." The Straits Times. June 23 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  20. Parekh, Nidhi. "How Does China’s CoronaVac Vaccine for COVID-19 Work?" Fancy Comma. July 22 2020. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  21. "WHO validates Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and issues interim policy recommendations." World Health Organisation. July 1 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  22. "WHO approves China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.” Channel News Asia. June 2 2021. Accessed 4 July,  2021.
  23. Chew, Hui Min. "Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to be allowed in Singapore under special access route after WHO approval.” Channel News Asia. June 2 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  24. "24 Private Healthcare Institutions Selected to Administer the Government’s Stock of Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 Vaccine.” Ministry of Health. June 16 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  25. Leo, Lakeisha. "7 more private clinics selected to offer Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine: MOH.” Channel News Asia. July 2 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  26. Ng, Hong Siang. "24 clinics selected to administer Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine; S$10 to S$25 for single dose.” Channel News Asia. June 17. 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  27. "List of Approved Private Healthcare Institutions and their Charges.” Ministry of Health. July 2 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  28. Baharudin, Hariz. "Govt offering Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to some of those allergic to mRNA jabs as part of study." The Straits Times. July 2 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  29. "Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine in Singapore.” Health Plus. June 22 2021. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  30. "Frequently Asked Questions - Vaccination Registration." Ministry of Health. Accessed 7 July, 2021.
  31. "Vaccination Centres -" Ministry of Health. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  32. "COVID-19 Vaccination.” Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  33. "Register Interest for COVID-19 Vaccination." Ministry of Health. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  34. "COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Booking." Ministry of Health. Accessed 4 July, 2021.
  35. "Singapore shortens interval between COVID-19 vaccine doses to 4 weeks.” Channel News Asia. June 29 2021. Accessed 7 July, 2021.
  36. Lai, Linette. "S'pore delays 2nd Covid-19 vaccine dose to 6-8 weeks later; those aged 40-44 can register for jabs from Wednesday.” The Straits Times. May 18 2021. Accessed 7 July, 2021.
  37. "Covid-19 Vaccination Dose Interval to Be Shortened As National Vaccination Programme is Accelerated.” Ministry of Health. June 29 2021. Accessed 7 July, 2021.
  38. FAQs - Post-Vaccination Matters.” Ministry of Health. Accessed 7 July, 2021.
  39. Lee, Hsien Loong.”Today we began COVID-19 vaccinations.” Facebook. December 30 2021. Accessed 19 July, 2021.
  40. "Singapore begins COVID-19 vaccination campaign." Anadolu Agency. December 30 2020. Accessed 19 July, 2021.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Low, Dominic. "80,000 land transport workers to receive Covid-19 vaccine from Jan 25." The Straits Times, January 25 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Kok, Yufeng. "Covid-19 vaccination drive kicks off for over 50,000 eligible cabbies, private-hire drivers." The Straits Times. February 21 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.
  43. Baharudin, Hariz. "Elderly to start getting Covid-19 vaccine earlier, from end-Jan: Lawrence Wong." The Straits Times. January 13, 2021. Accessed 19 Jul. 2021.
  44. Baharudin, Hariz. "Seniors across Singapore to start getting vaccinated against Covid-19 from Feb 22: PM Lee." The Straits Times. February 12 2021. Accessed 19 July, 2021.
  45. "COVID-19 Vaccination Brought Forward for All Seniors; Extended to Essential Services Personnel and Higher Risk Groups.” Ministry of Health." March 8, 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.
  46. "Expansion of Vaccination Programme; Further Easing of Community Measures.” Ministry of Health. March 24 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.
  47. "Vaccination exercise to progressively cover students.” May 31 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.
  48. "Updates on COVID-19 National Vaccination Programme.” Ministry of Health." June 24 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.
  49. "Covid-19: Vaccination programme ‘ahead of schedule’, 50% of population to be fully vaccinated by July 25." Today Online. July 16 2021. Accessed 20 July, 2021.