SINGAPORE: Singapore is working towards the donation of around 100,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses to Johor and the specific details are still being discussed with relevant parties, said a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesperson on Thursday (Sep 9).
This came after Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad said on Monday that the Singapore Government will contribute 100,640 doses of Pfizer vaccine to the Johor state government. This is on top of the 20,000 Sinovac doses contributed in late July, as a sign of close ties between both sides, he added.
Responding to CNA’s queries, the MOH spokesperson noted that Singapore has reached a high rate of vaccination and has stock in hand, with all vaccines having expiry dates.
“In the meantime, our neighbours in the region are in need of vaccines as they are ramping up their national exercises, whereas our demand for (the) vaccine booster programme will pick up only early next year,” said the spokesperson.
“Given these considerations, it makes sense to channel vaccines to where they are needed most in our region, through donations and swap arrangements.”
MOH added: “We are therefore working towards the donation of around 100,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Johor. The specific details of the donation are still being discussed with the relevant parties, including the pharmaceutical companies.”
It also said that by extending mutual support and assisting neighbouring countries, Singapore can help boost the overall resiliency of the region.
Speaking during a press conference on Thursday evening, Malaysia's Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed hope that the vaccines can be delivered soon.
He said: "The discussion is between Singapore and Pfizer. We are ready to accept (the vaccines) but now there are some details that have to be discussed between the Singapore Government and Pfizer."
"But we hope soon that they can send the vaccines over to Johor. That was the contribution that was promised from the Singaporean government."
When interviewed by CNA on May 31, the chief minister said that the state government is keen to increase Johor's vaccine supply through various channels, including by procuring them from Singapore.
Last month, Singapore announced that it contributed 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to Brunei, as part of bilateral cooperation to tackle the ongoing pandemic.
Last week, it was also announced that Singapore will send 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Australia as part of a "dose sharing" agreement. Under the deal, Australia will send the same quantity of vaccines back to Singapore in December.
Johor is among the states that have consistently reported a four-figure daily increase in COVID-19 cases. The number of cases in the last 14 days totalled about 28,000 in the southern state.
Currently, Johor and Kedah are the only states that remain in phase 1 of the national recovery plan, under which COVID-19 curbs are the most stringent.
Malaysia has recorded around 1.9 million COVID-19 cases and more than 19,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.