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Asia Minute: New Focus on Chinese Vaccines and the Delta Variant

Coronavirus Indonesia China Sinovac Vaccine Outbreak
Tatan Syuflana/AP
A medical worker shows a vial of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Indonesian state-owned pharmaceutical company Biofarma during a vaccination campaign for children between 12-17 years of age at a school in Tangerang, Indonesia, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The world's fourth most populous county is struggling to acquire enough vaccines to reach its target of inoculating more than 181 million of its 270 million people by March 2022. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Coronavirus case numbers are rising again in much of the United States—and in many parts of the Asia Pacific, where vaccines are also getting a different kind of attention this week.

Indonesia has overtaken India as the country with Asia’s highest number of new daily coronavirus cases.

That pace now tops 40,000, more than four times the daily numbers of just a month ago.

India’s case numbers are declining---after peaking at about 400,000 a day in May.

Vaccines continue a slow roll-out around the region—about 10% of Indonesia’s population is now fully vaccinated.

But certain vaccines have also become more controversial, especially those made in China.

Indonesia and Thailand have both changed their policies for those who have received a first shot of the Sinovac vaccine, which has been found to be less effective than others against the Delta variant of the virus.

Now the follow-up second shots will be the American Moderna vaccine in Indonesia, and the British AstraZeneca in Thailand.

Also, health care workers in Thailand who have been fully vaccinated with Sinovac will be getting a third shot—but also with a different vaccine—either AstraZeneca or the Pfizer shots that will soon be coming from the United States.

Indonesia is still receiving donated vaccines, now coming from Australia, Japan, Singapore and the United States.

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