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Amid strong Sinovac demand, 4 more private healthcare institutions apply to import COVID-19 vaccines

Amid strong Sinovac demand, 4 more private healthcare institutions apply to import COVID-19 vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker holds a dose of the Sinovac vaccine at a district health facility as Indonesia begins mass vaccination for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), starting with its healthcare workers, in Jakarta, Indonesia January 14, 2021. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

SINGAPORE: Four private healthcare institutions have submitted applications to import COVID-19 vaccines under the Special Access Route (SAR) as of Wednesday (Jun 30), according to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

They are not part of the 24 private healthcare institutions which had earlier been selected to administer the Government's stock of 200,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines.

HSA said it was unable to provide information on who had applied, and which vaccines they intended to bring in due to confidentiality reasons.

Through the SAR, the private healthcare sector can bring in unregistered COVID-19 vaccines, as long as they have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The scheme provides access to alternative vaccines for people who cannot or choose not to take the two COVID-19 vaccines currently authorised in Singapore, which are the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Both are based on mRNA technology.

READ: People who want alternative COVID-19 vaccines can get them under special access route

Last week, private healthcare institutions CNA spoke to said they were considering bringing in more vaccines, including China's Sinovac and Sinopharm shots, following a surge in demand for non-mRNA vaccines.

One clinic said more than 4,000 people had been scheduled for vaccination appointments, with bookings running up to the end of September.

READ: 'Overwhelming' response for Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at some approved clinics 

As of Jun 28, there have been two adverse event reports of hives, a type of skin rash, following vaccination with the Sinovac shots, according to HSA. 

However, it added that the effects were “non-serious”.

READ: 0.13% of total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered reported to have suspected adverse effects: HSA

HSA said the total number of people vaccinated with the Sinovac shots are still low, as vaccinations started on Jun 18.

It said it will continue to monitor for any safety signals.

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Source: CNA/vl

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