Singapore 1st To Obtain Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

Singapore 1st To Obtain Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine In Asia

SINGAPORE –The city-state’s office property market has more reasons to be merry this Christmas and the coming months as it’s the first country in Asia to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that would allow employees to return to their workplace safely without getting infected by COVID-19.

On Monday evening (21 December, SGT), The Business Times reported that the first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipment in Singapore and the region arrived at Changi Airport from Brussels, Belgium at around 7.30pm of the same day.

The vaccines, which were picked up by DHL Global Forwarding from a production facility in Puurs, Belgium, were transported by a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 freighter.

According to DHL, the medicines were packed inside special thermal shipper boxes with temperature trackers fitted with high-tech GPS so that the authorities can track the important shipment throughout its journey.

DHL handled the customs clearance at the airport, while ground handler Sats transferred the shipment to its cold-chain facility after it was unloaded from the plane. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be temporarily stored at Sats Coolport, before DHL handles the final delivery of the medicines to the designated facility in the city-state, and then return the shipper boxes to Europe.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, and Civil Aviation Authority’s Director-general Kevin Shum, as well as chief executives of Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport Group witnessed the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines.

SIA’s Senior Vice President for cargo Chin Yau Seng said that the important delivery shows the city-state’s readiness for the crucial role of transporting and distributing the vaccines to different countries.

Currently, Singapore is talking with major suppliers on how it can help in the last stages of vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

“We have plans to work with the major suppliers, not so much on the production itself – which is done in Europe and the US – but if there’s a possibility for us to do what we call ‘fill-and-finish’ to help in the global distribution, we will be able to do that from Singapore,” revealed Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing during a visit to A*Star.

In the pharmaceutical sector, fill-and-finish is the process of injecting medicines into empty vials and packaging them for distribution.

“We are quite confident that we have the capabilities in Singapore, not just to bring the vaccine to Singapore, but also if need be to help distribute the vaccines throughout the region, using the capabilities that we have built up all these years,” noted Chan.

Among the firms here with the capabilities to do the fill-and-finish for biological and pharmaceutical products is US-based Thermo Fisher Scientific. It announced in October that it intends to construct a US$130 million sterile fill-and-finish facility here.

Once operational by 2022, the sophisticated facility could fill-and-finish 30 million sterile doses per month.

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