A Guide to COVID-19 Vaccines in Singapore

By Josephine Yeo, 14 May 2021 5479

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Singapore and is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Visit vaccine.gov.sg for the latest updates and developments from the government and always consult a medical professional before making any medical decisions. 

December 21, 2020 saw the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Singapore, the first nation in Asia to receive it. In another first, Singapore also pioneered the approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in Asia - the second to be approved in the country. 

Covid Vaccine in Singapore

Here’s the low-down on these two COVID-19 vaccines - how they compare with each other and how effective and safe they are. Read on to find out also if you’re eligible for vaccination and how you can get vaccinated in Singapore.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Vaccines protect you by teaching your immune system to defend itself against certain diseases. While there are a few types of vaccines available including those with live-attenuated or inactivated viruses, this article will focus on the ingredient in the PfizerBioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: Messenger RNA (mRNA). 

A new type of vaccine, mRNA vaccines, work by teaching our cells to make proteins that can trigger the production of antibodies to combat viruses. In the case of COVID, mRNA vaccines leads to the production of harmless ‘spike proteins’ (S protein) in the body – the same spike-like structure found on the surface of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19.

When these protein pieces are made, they will be displayed on the surface of our cells. This sends a warning signal to our immune system that the protein is a foreign object, and our bodies will start to create antibodies to combat the protein, and subsequently, protect us from the real virus.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine vs Moderna Vaccine: Key differences 

While both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use mRNA technology in their vaccines, they are different on several counts.

Pfizer-BioNTech vs. Moderna Vaccine: Key Differences
(as of 24 March 2021)




Vaccine Efficacy



Number of Doses 

2 doses, 2nd after 21 days 

2 doses, 2nd after 28 days

Amount of Vaccine Per Dose

30 micrograms 

100 micrograms



Both vaccines have triggered a range of short-lived side effects in a large number of recipients. The most common side effects are fatigue, injection site pain, muscle pain, headache, and joint pain. Some people have reported fever.

In rare instances, both vaccines have resulted in a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis, mainly reported by people with a history of severe allergies.

Check MOH’s Health Advisory if you’re unsure about whether you should be taking the vaccine.  

Concerned about severe side effects? If you have an Income Enhanced IncomeShield plan, it might reassure you to know that hospitalisation treatment due to COVID-19 vaccination is covered. The COVID-19 vaccination needs to be approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and administered in Singapore.

Singapore’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan

The Plan

While healthcare workers have been receiving vaccinations since Dec 2020, Singapore has been progressively expand vaccinations to include other Singaporeans and long-term residents who are medically eligible. 

Singapore vaccine distribution to healthcare workers

Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term residents are eligible to receive free COVID-19 vaccinations. This includes those in Singapore on a long-term visit pass, student pass, an employment or S-pass, as well as work permit holders, foreign domestic workers, and those holding a dependant's pass.

When Can I Get Vaccinated?

Singapore vaccine rollout

When you will become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination depends on your age and job profile. 

Healthcare workers, for instance, and others on the response frontline have been eligible since Dec 30, 2020. The elderly, meanwhile, have been getting their shots since February 2021.

Everyone else will have to await their turn. Refer to vaccine.gov.sg for updates on when you can register for your vaccination.

Important Notes:
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.

This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.