Singapore becomes first in Asia to receive first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines

The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for Singapore arrived in the country on Monday evening via a chartered flight from Brussels.

Phoon Jia Hui

Jack of all trades, master of drinking boba milk tea.

Published: 22 December 2020, 10:59 AM

Singapore became the first country in Asia to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, after the first shipment arrived at Singapore Changi Airport from Brussels on Monday (Dec 21) evening.   

The vaccines were received by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung. 

Singapore joins a handful of other countries in the world, like Britain and the United States, to approve and get COVID-19 vaccines. 

In a Facebook post, Mr Ong said that the “real work starts now” and thanked those involved in transporting the vaccines. 

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung inspecting the vaccines at Changi Airport’s cold-chain facility after its arrival in Singapore. PHOTO CREDIT: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION


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As the vaccines have to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, it had to be taken to Changi Airport’s ground handler SATS’ Coolport cold-chain facility for storage and ground transportation upon arrival. 

To be able to achieve that, four tonnes of dry ice have to be produced every day in the facility.


The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. PHOTO CREDIT: MINISTRY OF HEALTH


Singapore plans to have its population vaccinated by the third quarter of 2021. 

Vaccinations, which will be voluntary, will be free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents in Singapore. Priority will be given to those at greater risk and this includes those working on the frontline, as well as the elderly and the vulnerable. 

Last week, Singapore announced that it will move into Phase 3 of its reopening on Dec 28. Phase 3 may be around for up to a year, depending on how soon vaccines become available to all Singaporeans.

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