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Asia Minute: Region Scrambles for More Vaccines

Virus Outbreak Japan Vaccines
Eugene Hoshiko/AP
A Tokyo Metropolitan Government employee takes the Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine shot at a newly opened vaccination center at their building, Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

When it comes to coronavirus vaccinations, the Asia Pacific is trailing much of the rest of the world. For many countries, one issue continues to be supply—but in some places, that’s starting to change.

Japan has a contract with Pfizer to receive another 90 million doses of its vaccine by this autumn, but Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga may ask the company to speed up that delivery to get more shots in arms this summer.

The spread of the delta variant has increased a sense of urgency around the region when it comes to vaccine supply.

Australia has ordered more than 4 million additional doses from Pfizer to be delivered this summer—while Taiwan has 15 million doses scheduled for delivery in the coming weeks.

The Taipei government has ordered another 36 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The Philippines just updated its plans on supply lines. The country has a national vaccine manager, who told reporters last week the country expects more than 136 million doses over the next six months.

Sources will include a mix of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, the Chinese Sinovac, the Russian Sputnik and the global alliance known as COVAX.

Vietnam is getting an additional 3 million doses of the Moderna shot donated from the United States—and the country just announced it’s reached an agreement with the U.S. and Russia to produce vaccinations locally.

In Thailand, the government has apologized for its slow procurement of vaccines and is promising to speed up the process.

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