Table 9

Snapshot of vaccine availability and roll-out implemented in six Asian countries

IndonesiaSingaporeSouth KoreaThailandThe PhilippinesVietnam
Vaccine suppliesEngaged the COVAX facility while procuring vaccines from multiple pharmaceutical companies before commencing vaccination drives. Domestic production began with state-own Biopharma to augment existing stocks while Indonesia receives donations from other countries.Received the first shipment of vaccines at the end of 2020 and had continually been expanding its vaccine portfolio to meet increasing demands. Pharmaceutical companies have also inked agreements to set up plants in Singapore going forward to augment domestic and regional supplies.In mid-2020, the government minted a deal between SK Bioscience and a pharmaceutical company to make core elements of the vaccine in the country. The government also made advanced purchase agreements with multiple vaccine manufacturers while continuing to formalise production agreements with other vaccine producing companies.Thailand had domestically produced its own vaccine through a royal-owned drug manufacturing company but had to revise its vaccine acquisition plan in light of the Delta variant and lower vaccine efficacy for existing vaccines. Thailand joined COVAX in July 2021 in the face of supply constraints and high infection numbers.Received its first batch of vaccines from COVAX in March 2021 as it continued to sign procurement deals with various drug companies to diversify its vaccine portfolio. The Asian Development Bank offered advance payments for vaccines and purchases of vaccine-related items. The World Bank had also made a contribution of 4.73 million doses in October 2021 to augment the supply chain.In February 2021, a Resolution on the purchase of vaccines was ordained and carried out under the procurement mechanism in special cases under Article 26 of the Law on Bidding. The country also expedited vaccine use under its Emergency Use Authorisation protocols while supporting the formulation of home-grown vaccines for domestic production. Donations from other countries were also received.
Vaccine campaigns and requirementsInitiated vaccine campaign in January 2021, prioritising high-risk groups. However, vaccine drives slowed due to supply bottlenecks, weak cold chain and hesitancy. As more variants emerged, boosters were recommended in January 2022, with residents needing to pay for the extra shots. Vaccine mixing is not permitted.VacciNationSG campaign was rolled out during the early months of 2021. As vaccination rates among the vulnerable increased, vaccines were made available in May 2021 to the general population at no cost. Booster shots were made available since September 2021 to the vulnerable and in October 2021, to the rest of the population. As vaccine efficacy wanes over time, coupled with more virulent strains, booster shots became mandatory to be considered fully vaccinated.Vaccination differentiation measures kicked in a bid to further promote vaccination among the unvaccinated as more transmissible variants entered its borders. As the country launched its ‘Living with COVID campaign, it also launched a mobile app that displays vaccinated passports to facilitate vaccine differentiated measures. Further, the interval for booster shots was reduced from 4 to 5 months to 3 months in view of the Omicron incursion.Thailand rolled out its mass vaccination drive in mid-2021. A booster dose was recommended end-2021 due to the spread of the Omicron variant and healthcare workers were also set for a fourth dose after 3 months from their third shot. To promote vaccination uptake, some village districts in Northern Thailand initiated incentives such as the chance to win a live cow every week for those who get inoculated.National vaccination campaign (Resbakuna) was launched in March 2021. The phased implementation approach for the campaign was contingent on the projected availability of vaccine doses and it prioritised population groups according to risk of exposure (eg, front-line workers in health facilities and essential sectors) and risk of mortality (eg, poor population, senior citizens and adults with comorbidities). By December 2021, the waiting interval for boosters was shortened to 3 months to rein in the more transmissible Omicron variant. In early 2022, drive-through vaccination sites were set up. As hospitals continue to be overwhelmed in the face of rising Omicron infections, some policymakers expressed their support for severe restrictions for unvaccinated individuals (eg, prohibition from public transport and absolute stay-at-home orders except for accessing essential goods and services).Initially, vaccines were prioritised to provinces with severe epidemic conditions and of economic significance. To maximise effectiveness of vaccines, mixing of vaccines was approved in July 2020. Vietnam also received vaccine doses from a few European countries through COVAX in January 2022. Multiple venues such as hospitals, district health and commune health centres served as vaccination sites. A unified mobile application that showcases vaccine certificates was also launched to facilitate vaccine differentiated measures.