Singapore breaks down Covid deaths by vaccine

Office buildings are pictured at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on January 4, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Singapore's health minister Ong Ye Kung said vaccines that are available in the country have been far more effective than doing nothing at all, as he implored holdouts to get inoculated in the face of an expected wave of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Nearly 70% of those who died from Covid-19 last year in the city-state were not fully vaccinated, according to Ong, despite the unvaccinated making up a far smaller percentage of the population. About 87% of the total population was vaccinated as of the end of the year, according to Ministry of Health data.

Ong, in comments made in parliament on Monday, detailed statistics from the 247 deaths recorded among fully vaccinated individuals last year. The statistics signaled mRNA vaccines possibly offer higher protection:

  • 11 deaths per 100,000: Sinovac
  • 7.8 deaths per 100,000: Sinopharm
  • 6.2 deaths per 100,000: Pfizer/BioNTech
  • One death per 100,000: Moderna

NOTE: Singapore has recorded 838 deaths so far out of a total of more than 285,000 cases; 802 deaths in 2021.

Ong reiterated that Singapore’s key strategy remains to live with Covid-19, which includes not locking down the country’s borders. The government "cannot over-liberalise all social activities" and remove all restrictions, though it also cannot close its borders, which will "cause tremendous suffering." The country will respond "flexibly and appropriately to twists and turns that the pandemic situation may take," he said.

Among other details from Ong’s remarks to Parliament:

  • Expects Omicron to become dominant variant within next few weeks
  • Singapore’s ICU manpower has increased by 12% over the past year to about 1,800, and the city-state is training about 500 more staff to assist with such operations

There are presently no plans to introduce vaccination differentiated measures for children below 12 years old in overall school settings, Ong said.

Since vaccination for younger kids kicked off over the last few weeks, there have been no serious adverse events reported so far, senior minister of state for health Janil Puthucheary also said in parliament.

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