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Importance of understanding the COVID-19 vaccination and its role in public health measures

Speech by Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, at the Vaccine Hesitancy Public Forum

Dr Chan Siew Luen, Vocational Service Director (2020-21), Rotary Club of Singapore
Prof Teo Yik Ying, Dean, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore 
Mr Dinesh Sharma, President, Rotary Club Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Good morning! It is my pleasure to join you for today’s public forum on vaccines and why they are a critical shield against Covid-19.
  2. Today you will hear from the experts at NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and you have a chance to have your questions about vaccines and vaccination answered, especially if you or your family and friends are still thinking about getting vaccinated. Dialogues like these are important to provide information not only about the virus, but the danger of misinformation that threatens to undermine our health.

    Importance of understanding the COVID-19 vaccination and its role in public health measures

  3. Despite making some headway against Covid-19, the virus is continuing to evolve and posing all kinds of new challenges in different parts of the world. We are now dealing with new variants of the virus, and more variants may emerge in a matter of time.
  4. To raise our game against Covid-19, we must, in PM Lee’s words, “test, trace, and vaccinate more quickly and more extensively”.
  5. Vaccination is a critical tool in our fight against Covid-19. While vaccination does not eliminate the risk of transmission totally, it provides significant protection against infection and helps to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
  6. We have made good progress since vaccination started last December. A total of about 4.2 million doses have been administered in Singapore, with almost 2.4 million people having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Government’s aim is for all Singapore residents to get their first jab by National Day – as long as they are eligible and wish to be vaccinated.
  7. However, whether we can achieve that speed and coverage of protection depends hugely on the responses and uptake of vaccination by those who are yet to be covered.
  8. I know some of you may be concerned about the long-term effects of the vaccines, the duration of protection and the efficacy of the vaccines against new variants. With news and information about COVID-19 coming from different sources everyday, it is natural to feel overwhelmed or confused. This is especially so when there are no simple or quick answers to all the questions that we have. Our experts need time to study and validate findings and continually search for explanations to new questions and situations.
  9. From what I understand, the vaccines are safe, and I have been vaccinated. I hope that today’s session will help address your concerns and give you a better understanding of the Covid-19 vaccines.
  10. In this regard, I would like to thank the organisers from NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health for organising this forum so that we can all be more accurately and adequately informed about Covid-19 vaccination by the experts. I think you will all agree with me that our healthcare workers and experts have been at the forefront of this battle, and we deeply appreciate the sacrifices and efforts they have made to keep us safe.

    Fight misinformation

  11. Apart from vaccinations, another key way we can defeat this virus is to help stop the spread of misinformation. Wrong and misleading information sows suspicion and confusion, and prevents people from protecting themselves and their loved ones from infection. It is crucial to verify that the information received comes from trusted and legitimate sources, before sharing them. Like the Phua Chu Kang said, “don’t kan cheong, don’t be confused. Check the source, then share the news.”

    Staying united and vigilant amidst COVID-19

  12. In a pandemic, no one is really safe, until all are safe. Even the smallest stone makes a ripple in the water. Each of our actions, however small it may be, counts. Be it washing hands, safe distancing or simply staying home as much as possible. Each vaccinated person further strengthens our collective defence against the coronavirus.
  13. The government cannot address this threat alone. Let’s close ranks and step up our vaccination shield to keep out the enemy. I hope you will also share the useful insights from today’s forum with your families and friends.
  14. We need everyone’s help to keep each other safe and to get through these challenging times together. Let’s keep up our fight and overcome Covid-19 together!
  15. Thank you.
 
Last updated on 08 June 2021