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Singapore will send 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Australia, same amount to be returned in December

Singapore will send 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Australia, same amount to be returned in December

A healthcare worker in Singapore holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre on Jan 27, 2021. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will send 500,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Australia as part of a "dose sharing" agreement, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Tuesday (Aug 31).

Under the deal, Australia will send the same quantity of vaccines back to Singapore in December, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a Facebook post.

The half a million doses that Singapore is sending will come from its existing stock and the country has enough to meet its current needs, said MFA. The ministry added that the returned doses later in the year would potentially be used as booster shots for "specific segments" of Singapore's population that could benefit from such boosting.

"This arrangement will enable both countries to support each other in optimising our respective schedules for vaccinating our populations against COVID-19," said MFA.

"(It) will help Australia accelerate its vaccination programme amidst its current increase in cases caused by the Delta variant."

MFA also said that Singapore is grateful to Pfizer and BioNTech for assisting to facilitate the dose sharing arrangement.

In his Facebook post, Mr Lee lauded the move as another example of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between both countries.

"Glad to support their efforts to get Australians vaccinated as soon as possible," said Mr Lee.  

"Countries must be united in the battle to quell the pandemic, so that we can all move into the new normal. Singapore is ready to do our bit."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Jun 10, 2021. (Photo: MCI/Fyrol)

According to ABC News, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the doses would be received this week, and rolled out across Australia from next week, to be shared equally with all states and territories on the basis of population. 

"We need to vaccinate the whole country and we need for those doses to go from one end of the country to the other and for them to be taken up," he said.

The move would assist Australia's national vaccination programme with inoculating two age groups - those aged 16 to 29, and those aged 12 to 15, ABC News quoted Mr Morrison as saying.

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Source: CNA/ic(ac)

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