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Asia Minute: Pace of Vaccinations Varies Across Region

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Hawaii’s Department of Health says that more than 416,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed across the state. Around the world, vaccinations rolled out faster in the United States and Europe than other regions. In the Asia Pacific, it’s been slower — and the pace is varying in different locations.

This week, Hong Kong has expanded the number of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Those working in restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores will now be eligible for shots — as will those working in gyms and salons.

The government minister overseeing the program says that means more than a million more people will be getting vaccines in coming weeks.

In Singapore, drivers who cross the border from Malaysia have been added to the list of those who can get free vaccines.

The government plans to step up its broader vaccination program next month.

Late last week, the Philippines received half a million dosesof the Astra Zeneca vaccine — adding to a previous shipment from the Chinese company Sinovac.

Government officials say more than 44,000 people have received their initial shots. That’s a faster pace than Japan — where health care workers have been getting vaccinated for about two weeks now, but the government reports that fewer than 50-thousand have received shots.

The vaccination timeline for residents over 65 has been pushed back from next month until May.

Australia has been giving shots for a couple of weeks getting to nearly 90,000 residents — mostly in elder care homes and to medical workers.

South Korea started later with vaccines, just last week, but has already delivered nearly 300,000 doses.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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