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Asia Minute: Vaccines Affect Economic Growth in Asia

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AP Photo/Kin Cheung

The headline may not be a shock: in parts of Asia, low rates of vaccination are stalling economic growth.

The Asian Development Bank says the differences are especially stark in Southeast Asia.

The Bank just cut its growth forecast for several Southeast Asian economies — including Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Bank officials say vaccination rates in all three countries are “in the vicinity of 20%.”

By contrast, the ADB raised its projection for growth in Singapore, where more than 80% of the population is vaccinated.

Stronger growth is also expected in China, Taiwan and South Korea.

The bank said, “economies that have successfully contained the pandemic and actively rolled out vaccines are benefiting more than others from the recovery in global demand.”

Overall, the ADB has lowered its growth projections for developing Asia this year — although the numbers are still high — now 7.1%—down from 7.3% in April.

Acting Chief Economist Joseph Zveglich says governments need to focus not only on vaccinations, but also on “reorienting sectors in the economy to adapt to a ‘new normal’ once the pandemic subsides.”

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