Asia Minute: Regional Vaccine Plans Vary

Dec 31, 2020

It's been another week of developments in the continuing story of vaccines against COVID-19. Except for China, most of the Asia Pacific has been moving more slowly with actual injections than in places such as the United States and the United Kingdom. But plenty of vaccines have already been ordered.

No one in India has received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, but the country has more than one and a half billion doses on order.

Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center says most come from an American company, Novavax, whose product is now in stage 3 clinical trials. Others are made by the British company AstraZeneca and the Sputnik-V vaccine from Russia.

Injections could start sometime next month.

Japan may begin administering vaccinations in late February. Kyodo News reports more than half a billion doses are on order — including 120 million each from Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca, as well as 250-million from Novavax and 50 million from Moderna.

The president of South Korea has come under domestic criticism for a slow response to ordering vaccines.

The JoongAng Daily reports that earlier this week President Moon Jae-in personally spoke to the CEO of Moderna, and ordered 40-million doses — double the government’s previous arrangement.

Health care workers in South Korea may start to receive injections in February.

The Global Health Innovation Center says Indonesia has more than 300 million doses on order — mostly from China.

Australia has ordered about half that number, mostly split among AstraZeneca, Novavax and Pfizer — with plans to start vaccinations in March.