This story was first published on July 19, 2021, and updated on September 8, 2021.
A new vaccine is now available in Singapore after it was announced that China’s Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Singapore in August. As private healthcare groups manage the overwhelming demand for the vaccine, Healthway Medical Corporation has announced that they will be sponsoring 1,000 seniors aged 60 and above with the vaccine for free.
This initiative is being taken up by Healthway Medical Corporation in collaboration with real estate company OUE and is aimed at supporting the Government’s attempt to get more seniors vaccinated.
“This initiative is in support of the Government’s efforts to boost Covid-19 vaccination take-up rate among seniors who are at higher risk of falling critically ill if they are infected,” Healthway Medical Corporation said in a statement this week.
To be eligible, seniors aged 60 and above simply need to register online. The vaccine will be rolled out at Healthway GP clinics from September 8 with three clinics first followed by others in the coming weeks.
The Sinopharm vaccine has been highly sought after since it arrived in Singapore with over 6,000 individuals having already registered their interest to get the Sinopharm vaccine, according to IHH Healthcare Singapore’s chief operating officer Dr Noel Yeo in August. Over 10,000 doses have also since been imported into our country.
"We were aware there is a demand for alternative vaccines. However, the response for Sinopharm has been overwhelming so far," Yeo said. "We are already assessing the need to re-apply for more doses to meet the demand."
This is the fourth Covid-19 vaccine to be available locally as Singapore works to ramp up the country’s vaccination rates. Currently, eighty per cent of Singapore’s population have received both vaccine doses, according to Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on August 29.
According to IHH Healthcare Singapore, the Health Sciences Authority has only given Sinopharm approval through the Special Access Route framework.
This Special Access Route framework allows private healthcare groups to fly in Covid-19 vaccines that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed for emergency use. Currently, this includes Sinovac, Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca.
Since Sinopharm does not fall under the Pandemic Special Access Route framework like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, it will not be subsidised by the Government. Currently, clinics are pricing it between $98 and $99 with GST.
Individuals who choose to take Sinopharm will also not be covered under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme, which is in place to help people who suffer from adverse effects from their Covid-19 vaccinations.
The Sinopharm vaccine will be administered in two doses that have to be given three to four weeks apart. It can be used on individuals above the age of 18 and is 79 per cent effective against symptomatic disease two weeks after the second dose according to WHO. Sinovac on the other hand is only 51 per cent effective.