Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied): Sir, the competition to fight for precious vaccine supplies has already given rise to vaccine nationalism. In contrast, Singapore has endorsed the elevated stance that advocates for fair and equitable access for vaccines, or one of vaccine multilateralism. Vaccine multilateralism is simply pragmatically necessary if international borders are to reopen. To this end, Singapore has been an active participant in various global initiatives. I have some questions on our contributions to these efforts.

One of the key initiatives is the COVAX Facility, a global risk sharing mechanism aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. More than 190 countries are now involved in COVAX.

In December last year, Singapore announced a contribution of US$5 million to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment or AMC financing instrument. How was this contribution sum of US$5 million determined and how does it compare with the contributions of other nations?

The current US administration is committing up to US$4 billion to the facility and G7 leaders have just issued statement calling for all partners to increase support for COVAX. Will Singapore be heeding this call?

On the conditions of our donation, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted recently that the WHO could accommodate requests from governments that wish to earmark some of their donations to specific countries. With ASEAN centrality in mind, has Singapore avail itself of this option so that it can channel parts of this donation to ASEAN countries?

Singapore is also serving as a co-chair of the friends of COVAX Facility alongside Switzerland. Could the Minister elaborate on what Singapore’s role is as the co-chair and the actions plan by the grouping to assist the COVAX Facility? Most specifically, how can the friends of COVAX Facility help discourage vaccine hoarding, especially by the richer developed countries?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 March 2021

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