Asia Minute: Vaccine Timetables Vary Across Region

Jan 11, 2021

As vaccines continue to be administered across the islands, other countries are moving ahead with their own plans. That includes three countries in the Asia Pacific that are on different timetables for vaccinating their residents.

 

Singapore’s Prime Minister got a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday — kicking off a nationwide drive to encourage residents to get their shots.

The Straits Times says Singapore was the first country in Asia to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The initial doses went into the arms of employees of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, and front-line medical workers.

Singapore will be receiving more doses from the American company Moderna and the Chinese company Sinovac.

Australia will be receiving vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca — and on an accelerated pace.

Late last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to start mass vaccinations in February, instead of the originally planned start date of March. Once both treatments pass regulatory approval, the government plans to ramp up administering the shots — targeting 80,000 a week to start, reaching four million residents by early March.

In Japan, the wait may be a bit longer.

Reuters reports that the distributor of the Moderna vaccine is “unlikely to win approval in Japan until May due to requirements for local clinical trials.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine is still undergoing trials, but the Pfizer vaccine is further along — currently under regulatory review.

Target time for approval on that is next month, with mass vaccinations soon to follow.