Health

Covid-19 vaccination progress in Southeast Asia


Currently, the Covid-19 vaccination rate in Vietnam ranks 10th out of 11 countries in Southeast Asia; People have a very high level of trust in vaccines.

Many Southeast Asian countries are seeing the Covid-19 wave return with more dangerous variants, after a few months of relative calm. Experts say vaccines will play an important role in helping the region escape the pandemic.

In December 2020, Singapore became the first country in the region to vaccinate against the Covid-19 vaccine. Next is Indonesia on January 13, using China’s Sinovac.

Vietnam started Covid-19 vaccination with AstraZeneca vaccine from March 8. The priority groups are doctors, staff involved in epidemic prevention and control, diplomats, customs, immigration officers, police, army… As of May 17, Vietnam has injected two doses of vaccine. administered to more than 22,500 people (0.04% of the population), injected at least one dose to 970,000 people (1% of the population).

According to the database Our World in Data of the Global Change Data Laboratory, the rate of two doses of vaccines in Vietnam ranks 10th out of 11 countries in the region, higher than Timor Leste. Singapore leads the way with more than 20% of the population having received two doses of the vaccine. Followed by Cambodia with 6.87%, Indonesia with 3.26% and Malaysia with 2.25%, as of May 15.

Chart of the percentage of population who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Southeast Asia from January 21 to May 15 Photo: Our World In Data

The rate of vaccinated people per 100 people in Vietnam is 0.92, ranking 11th in the region. This number is 54.7 in Singapore, 19.25 in Cambodia and 8.27 in Indonesia.

Vaccination rates in Vietnam have increased dramatically since mid-April. In just 20 days, from April 18 to 28, nearly 700,000 people received the first dose of the vaccine.

Attitude to vaccines

Confidence in vaccines is quite high in Southeast Asia, but community groups have different views. Some are extremely skeptical of the vaccination campaign, others say the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks. While some people want more vaccines to choose from, there are those who don’t mind getting vaccinated right away.

Mao Makara, a security guard in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said: “I’m also a bit worried, but I will vaccinate when it’s my turn. I think it will at least give some protection.”

Yustinus Budiwanto, 52, living in Bandung, Indonesia, said: “Indonesian people often say ‘Get ready to bring an umbrella before it rains’. I want to have strong enough immunity to fight the virus before I get sick.”

Reply VnExpress On May 17, Pham Van Giap, a resident doctor at the National Children’s Hospital, who received the Covid-19 vaccine on May 6, said: “I am a frontline doctor, very easy to come into contact with germs. Diseases. Vaccinations help strengthen immunity for themselves and also to serve well for work.”

Regarding the problem of blood clotting and anaphylaxis around the AstraZeneca vaccine, Dr. Giap said that this rate is very small. “If we are too concerned, the virus will have a chance to spread, not reaching herd immunity,” he added.

According to data analysis company YouGov, the percentage of Southeast Asian population willing to get vaccinated ranges from 50% (in the Philippines) to 85% (in Vietnam). People’s attitudes have not changed much since December. But Thai people’s confidence level dropped from more than 80% in January to 60% in April.

Astrazeneca vaccine for the frontline against Covid-19 epidemic at the City Medical Center.  Dong Ha, Quang Tri, May 13.  Photo: Hoang Apple

Astrazeneca vaccine for the frontline against Covid-19 epidemic at the City Medical Center. Dong Ha, Quang Tri, May 13. Image: Hoang Apple

Many Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, witnessed a new wave of Covid-19 infections. In April, Thailand and the Philippines continuously recorded the highest number of daily infections since the beginning of the epidemic. But about 40% of Southeast Asians say they have adapted to the restrictions, making their own habits under the new “normal”.

According to market research agency Ipsos, people in Vietnam and Singapore are among the satisfied groups about the government’s response to Covid-19. Vietnam has the highest credit rating. 91% of the population feel that the authorities have handled the pandemic well. This figure in Singapore is 88%, Malaysia is 72% and Indonesia is 69%.

Vaccination goals

Most Southeast Asian countries use vaccine supplies from the Covax initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO). Most governments aim to immunize 50% to 70% of the adult population by 2021 or 2022.

Vietnam mainly uses AstraZeneca vaccine. The company will distribute to the country about 30 million doses. The Covax mechanism has provided Vietnam with 1.6 million doses out of a total commitment of more than 38 million.

In addition, the government said it was in talks with Pfizer, Moderna, CureVac, Johnson & Johnson and the Gamaleya Institute. Vietnam has received a commitment of about 110 million doses in 2021 from units and manufacturers. In addition, two domestically produced vaccines, Nanocovax and Covivac, are being tested in clinical trials.

Meanwhile, Thailand aims to vaccinate about 50% of its adult population by the end of this year. Besides the AstraZeneca vaccine, the country ordered more vaccines from Sinovac, China.

The Singapore government has spent about $750 million on vaccines, aimed at attracting companies like Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac. The country is estimated to inoculate around 5.5 million people by the third quarter of 2021.

Thuc Linh (According to the Our World in Data, Bangkok Post, Eseas)

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