SINGAPORE: About 15 per cent of Singapore's COVID 19 vaccine doses worth S $140 million have expired, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Tuesday that it was a price the country was prepared to pay.
He said that the expiry of vaccines was an insurance premium that we were prepared to pay to stave off the risk of catastrophic consequences.
In April 2020, Singapore resorted to implementing a circuit breaker in order to contain the Pandemic, after COVID 19 vaccine became available, according to Mr Ong.
The two-month circuit breaker cost us around S $11 billion in terms of GDP loss. We spent close to $60 billion over two financial years to cushion the hardship for businesses and workers, not to mention all the heartaches and difficulties families had to go through, he said.
Without vaccines, we would have to resort to further circuit breakers during the Delta and Omicron waves of late 2021 and then throughout 2022, if we didn't have vaccines. Our approach averted many deaths due to COVID 19 infections and protected Singaporeans. The Health Minister said Singapore had deliberately over-procured to mitigate the uncertainty of selected vaccine candidates not working, and the possibility of supply chains being disrupted during the debate on the White Paper on Singapore's response to COVID - 19, as well as to the possibility of supply chains being disrupted.
This meant having spare vaccine stock that would expire.
The White Paper, which was drew on a review conducted by the former head of civil service Peter Ho, concluded that Singapore's COVID 19 vaccine strategy paid off.
The White Paper, published earlier this month, shows that the government recognized very early that vaccines were the most promising exit strategy and worked to secure early access.
It added that Singapore had to place bets on potential game-changers at substantial cost before trials were completed.