认同世界卫生组织，终止疫苗歧视 - 中文版本在英文版本之后 Join WHO to End Vaccine Discrimination
9th July 2021
Dear Ministers of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF),
Our petition here urges the Ministry of Health (MOH) to align with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advisory of stopping vaccine discrimination and hence to treat Sinovac vaccine on par with mRNA vaccines for our National Covid-19 Vaccination Program.
On 1st July 2021, WHO together with the COVAX committee issued a joint statement to all member nations to ensure equal access to all Covid-19 vaccines. Quoting from the document: "COVAX urges all regional, national and local government authorities to recognise as fully vaccinated all people who have received COVID-19 vaccines that have been deemed safe and effective by the World Health Organization and/or the 11 Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs) approved for COVID-19 vaccines, when making decisions on who is able to travel or attend events."
We understand that Sinovac has delivered 600 million doses in China and to at least 33 countries around the world to date. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also called the vaccine safe and effective and noted its easy storage requirements compared to other vaccines.
Now that WHO has deemed Sinovac on par with the other emergency-use approved vaccines, what is the basis of our Expert Committee's decision on deeming this vaccine less effective or safe as compared to the mRNA vaccines?
MOH has consistently followed the Covid-19 regulatory and medical treatment guidelines set by WHO since the onset of the pandemic. Should Singapore not be following the WHO-COVAX’s statement in keeping all approved vaccines equitably accessible to all?
As it is, many Singaporeans are already feeling discriminated with the increasing perks for those who have taken mRNA vaccines following the return to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert). So, the news was well received when it was announced on 16th June 2021, that Sinovac vaccine would be administered by 24 private clinics as an alternative to the mRNA-type vaccines for a fee. This brought hope to the thousands of people who have had allergic reactions to the first dose of the mRNA vaccines, as well as others who simply feel safer with the traditional inactivated virus vaccines.
The result was many long queues outside these clinics, akin to those of the Hello Kitty fad 20 years ago. Many citizens, in their relief to be able to finally comply with the National Vaccination Program, painstakingly took the extra effort to get vaccinated. They went beyond and forked out from their own pockets to pay for the Sinovac vaccine despite the fact that most feel this should be made free for all citizens, in line with Pfizer and Moderna.
However, on 30th June 2021, 2 weeks into the highly successful roll-out of Sinovac, the MTF announced that citizens who received Sinovac would not be granted equal privileges as those who took the mRNA vaccines. Recipients of the Sinovac vaccine would not be exempted from pre-event testing. In other words, Sinovac is approved but not recognised in Singapore.
Clearly, citizens are being marginalized based on the type of vaccine they took and if this is not vaccine discrimination in favour of mRNA, we would like to have the MTF’s response to the latest WHO statement on the equal recognition of vaccines.
In a society where we strive to live in equality and resume normal living in this pandemic, we hope the authorities would avoid policies that discriminate or differentiate one citizen from another.
Therefore, we strongly call upon the Multi-ministerial Task Force of Singapore to align themselves with WHO in ending vaccine discrimination and allow Sinovac to be accepted on equal grounds as the other vaccines approved in our National Vaccination Program.
我们在此促请卫生部 (MOH)与世界卫生组织 (WHO) 的停止疫苗歧视的建议保持一致，从而在新加坡新冠肺炎全国疫苗接种计划中, 将科兴疫苗（Sinovac）与 mRNA 疫苗同等对待。
2021年7月1日，WHO与COVAX委员会向所属成员国发表了一项联合声明，以确保平等授予访问权限新冠疫苗。文件中提到： “COVAX敦促所有地区、国家和地方政府当局确认, 所有接受了WHO和/或11个严格的监管机构（SRA）批准的新冠疫苗人士为其充分接种疫苗者。这些人都可以在重新开放旅行或参加活动中受益。”
据我们了解，迄今为止，在中国和全球至少33个国家已提供了6亿剂科兴疫苗。WHO总干事Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus也声称科兴疫苗安全有效，并指出与其他疫苗相比，这种疫苗更易于储存。
既然WHO认为科兴疫苗与其他紧急使用的合格疫苗相当，我们的专家委员会却认为该疫苗与 mRNA 疫苗相比，有效性或安全性较差，请问依据是什么？
自从冠状病毒爆发以来，MOH一直遵循WHO制定的监管和医疗指南，那么现在新加坡是否也应该遵循 WHO-COVAX 的声明，让所有的人都能公平地获得所有已被批准的疫苗呢？
事实上，许多新加坡人已经对政府给予注射 mRNA 疫苗者特别的福利感到被歧视。因此，当有关当局在2021年6月16日宣布：24家私人诊所将提供科兴疫苗接种服务时，消息广被民众欢迎。这给许多对第一剂mRNA疫苗有过敏反应的人带来了希望，也给对传统的灭活病毒疫苗更放心的公民多一种选择。