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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Hong Kong, South Korea Starting Vaccines

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State health officials say vaccine distribution programs should be back on track this week following some disruptions because of severe winter weather on the continental United States. Overseas, this is a big week for vaccinations in two locations in the Asia Pacific that are just getting started with vaccine rollouts.

This is a busy week for Covid vaccines in Hong Kong and South Korea.

Both places are on track for their initial roll-out of vaccines — ready to start on Friday.

Several parts of the Asia Pacific have been slower to begin to put shots in arms than in North America, much of Europe and elsewhere. Japan just started its national distribution program last Wednesday. In the Philippines, they’re still waiting to begin.

In South Korea, they’ve had a couple of nationwide drills to practice the transport of vaccines to the points where residents will receive them.

The AstraZeneca version will be the first to be distributed — although the government has made arrangements for a variety of vaccines. Yonhap News says the government has a total of 79-million on order — more than the population of the country.

In Hong Kong, China’s SinoVac version will be the initial vaccine to be distributed at the end of this week. Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip told reporters the first shots will go to five community vaccination centers and 18 outpatient facilities.

First in line to receive the vaccines will be high-risk groups, including front line healthcare staff and workers in long-term care facilities.

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