Southeast Asia Covid Vaccine Rollout

A number of Southeast Asia countries have made agreements with vaccine manufacturers with some already starting their vaccination process.

Many countries though will have to wait for the vaccines to arrive unless they have managed to negotiate early access. A number of vaccines have made deals with countries which give them first access to the vaccine or were developed in association with governments and so giving priority.

Brunei

It is unclear at the present time on vaccine plans in Brunei.

Brunei has so far recorded 172 cases of Covid-19 and 3 deaths.

Cambodia

With very low numbers of Covid-19 cases Cambodia has so far been cautious with purchase of vaccinations.

In late December Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the country would eventually purchase 26 million doses, enough for 80% of the population.

The first 1 million doses would be acquired through the COVAX vaccine (supported by WHO) although timescales have not yet been confirmed.

He did caution against some of the vaccines being produced by announcing that he would only purchase vaccines that were certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that “Cambodia is not a dustbin…. and not a place for a vaccine trial.” Many have seen this as a kickback against the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

Cambodia has so far recorded 382 cases and no deaths from Covid-19.

Indonesia

Indonesia has reported that it has deals for more than 329 doses including with Oxford / AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac (from China), COVAX Alliance and Novavax (USA). The aim is to vaccinate all of the 267 million population by early 2022.

It has been reported that the country, unlike most around the world, will focus on vaccinating its younger, working age, population, rather than those most at risk. The aim is to develop a herd immunity among the most mobile among the population.

There has been some concern within the country with the use of pork products in the production of vaccines. Gelatin, derived from Pork, is used as a stabiliser in some vaccines, however the consumption of pork in any form is strictly forbidden or “haram” to Muslims, who comprise 87% of the 273 million population.

To ensure that much of the population is happy to receive the vaccine, a Halal certification will be required for each vaccine. Astra/Zeneca, Noavax and Pfizer have all confirmed that there are no pork products in their vaccines however Sinovac has so far not confirmed the ingredients of their vaccine or if it contains pork gelatin.

Indonesia has so far received 3 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine which is now waiting for certification before the vaccination programme can begin.

It is hoped that the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, eventualy amounting to 100 million doses, will start to arrive by the second quarter of 2021 with the Pfizer vaccine following in the second half of the year.

Indonesia has recorded the most cases of Covid-19 in the region. There have so far been 772,103 cases, up 6,753 in the last 24 hours and up 93,978, or almost 14%, since 22nd December. There have also been 22,911 deaths.

Laos

It is hoped that vaccinations in Laos will start in April with an initial target of 20% of the population starting with at-risk groups.

Laos has so far recorded 41 cases of Covid-19 and no deaths.

Malaysia

Malaysia aims to provide free vaccines to 80% of the population, or 26 million people.

The vaccine programme is planned to start in February when the first 1 million doses of the pfizer vaccine arrive in the country. The first doses will be targeted at “frontliners” and high-risk groups including those with non-communicable diseases such as heart, lung and kidney ailments, and diabetes.

A further phase will take place in April or May when an additional 6.2 million doses arrive.

Malysia has also agreed to receive 6.4 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZenenca vaccine and is in negotiations with CanSino and Sinovac from China and Gamaleya in Russia for more doses.

Malaysia has so far recorded 120,818 cases of Covid-19, including a further 1,741 in the last 24 hours. There have been 501 deaths.

Myanmar

Myanmar hopes to access a number of Chinese manufactured vaccines with the first doses arriving in the first few months of 2021.

Myanmar has so far recorded 126,935 cases of Covid-19 and 2,744 deaths.

Philippines

The Philippines hope to secure enough doses to vaccinate 100 million people but have been hampered by not securing early access to any vaccines.

The country so far has only secured 2.6 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZenenca vaccine although it also hopes to receive 30 million doses of Novavax starting from July. Negotiations with Moderna are hoped to begin next week.

It is hoped that two Chinese vaccines, Sinpharm and Sinovac wil receive an emergency use authorisation (EUA) later this week allowing for the roll out of vaccinations. Sinopharm was authorised for use in China last week and Sinovac are hoping for similar apprioval later this month. Agreements have yet to be made with either company however for the supply although it is hoped that 25 million doses of Sinovac will start to arrive from March.

The Philippines has so far recorded 478,761 cases of Covid-19 including 959 in the last 24 hours. There have also been 9,263 deaths.

Singapore

Singapore has agreements in place with a number of vaccine manufacturers including Moderna (USA), Pfizer and Sinovac and plans to have enough doses for all of the 5.7 million population by the third quarter of 2021.

The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were administered in Singapore on Wednesday 30th December following the country becoming the first in Asia to approve the vaccine.

Singapore has so far recorded 58,721 cases of Covid-19 with 24 new cases in the last 24 hours. There have also been 29 deaths.

Thailand

Thailand has agreements with a number of vaccine suppliers and have set the target of inoculating around 33 million people, or 50% of the population, by the end of 2021.

Thailand has agreed to purchase 2 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 Vaccine with the first 200,000 arriving in February, followed by 800,000 in March and 1 million in April.

The country has also undertaken a technology transfer agreement with AstraZeneca to locally produce the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine. The first doses are expected to be available for distribution from May.

Thailand has recorded 8,439 cases, up 745 in the last 24 hours and up more than 2,700, or 47%, since 22nd December. There have also been 65 deaths.

Timor-Leste

It is unclear at the present time on vaccine plans in Timor-Leste.

Timor has so far recorded 49 cases of Covid-19 and no deaths.

Vietnam

Vietnam has been working to develop its own vaccines with human trials of “Nan Covax” already taking place with a second vaccine also well under development.

Vietnam confirmed on 4th January that it had agreed to purchase 30 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZenca vaccine and was negotiating with a number of other manufacturers including Pfizer.

The country has previously announced that it had agreed to purchase significant numbers of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine although details and timeframes have been unclear.

Vietnam was also hoping to secure enough doses for up to 15.6 million people through COVAX.

Vietnam has so far reported just 1,497 cases of Covid-19 and 35 deaths.

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