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Singapore unable to 'completely utilise' older COVID-19 vaccine stocks as updated jabs are rolled out: MOH

Expired COVID-19 vaccines are about 10% of Singapore's stock, said the Health Ministry.

Singapore unable to 'completely utilise' older COVID-19 vaccine stocks as updated jabs are rolled out: MOH

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: CNA/Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will not be able to "completely utilise" older COVID-19 vaccine stocks that it has purchased as updated jabs with greater efficacy are rolled out, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Oct 26).

The expired vaccines are about 10 per cent of Singapore's stock, it added.

"We have taken careful steps to minimise any potential wastage, for example, by swapping and donating our stocks with countries that have a greater need for vaccines at that point, as well as working with vaccine manufacturers to extend the shelf life of our stocks," MOH said in response to media queries.

The ministry said that it was unable to provide further detailed information due to contractual obligations.

In its reply, MOH also explained Singapore's approach to procuring COVID-19 vaccines.

"Vaccination is Singapore’s primary line of defence against COVID-19. We secure early access to COVID-19 vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to meet our population’s vaccination and boosting needs," it said.

"This includes securing enough supplies in anticipation of the emergence of a variant of concern, where we anticipate that there will be overwhelming global demand or potential disruptions to the delivery of the vaccine doses."

Singapore's contracts also enabled it to have early access to new and more effective formulations, such as the bivalent vaccines.

The Moderna/Spikevax bivalent vaccine has been available in Singapore since Oct 14 while interim authorisation for Pfizer's Comirnaty bivalent booster vaccine was granted on Oct 25.

As of Monday, 92 per cent of Singapore's total population has completed their full COVID-19 vaccine regimen while 79 per cent of the total population has received booster shots.

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Source: CNA/kg(mi)
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