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Asia Minute: AstraZeneca Vaccine Popular in Asia Pacific

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Hawai‘i’s Department of Health continues to administer the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines—the same ones in use for the rest of the United States. But in many parts of Asia, one of the key vaccines in play is the one from AstraZeneca—and the pace is picking up this week.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in now has his first COVID-19 vaccine under his belt—or at least in his arm.

Moon got the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, along with his wife and nine senior aides who plan on heading to the Group of Seven leaders’ summit in Britain in June.

South Korea rolled out its vaccine program late last month with an initial focus on medical staff treating COVID-19 patients.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency had delayed vaccinating older people until additional clinical data was available on the AstraZeneca shot’s effectiveness among the elderly.

Indonesia had suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.

This week the shots are back---although the government is cautioning against its use for those with blood clotting disorders.

Thailand’s prime minister was first in line for the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday—after authorities had temporarily suspended its use last week.

Taiwan’s president started this week with an AstraZeneca vaccine—to kick off an island-wide vaccination program.

While the AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved for emergency use in the United States, it is widely used in other locations across the Asia Pacific---from the Philippines and Vietnam to India and Australia.

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