Two ministerial statements in Parliament on Monday underlined the unified approach being taken to roll out the vaccination programme and the need for calibrating the momentum of Singapore’s gradual opening up to the world. The emphasis is still on a cautionary approach to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Even as the authorities fine-tune the evolving balance between an increasingly vaccinated public and liberalised foreign travel, for example, Singaporeans owe it to themselves to embrace the opportunity that is provided by inoculation while continuing to observe everyday protocols of social behaviour that are essential to their safety. Any letting up on the public vigilance would set society back.
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On the inoculation front, a vaccine will be used only if it is assessed to be sufficiently efficacious and safe, and only if the benefits of the vaccine are assessed to outweigh the risks of any potential adverse effects from the vaccination. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been put through a rigorous review process and has been authorised for use. The Moderna and Sinovac vaccines are undergoing the same stringent review process. This safeguard should help to ease the concerns of Singaporeans who might prefer one vaccine over another because of personal perceptions of their varying efficacy and safety.