I received notification from two USA-based covid reports advising today’s email update would be the last.
I look forward to sending you all the same message regarding the situation in Asia.
The good news is that vaccinations are effective for reopening economies and borders. The bad news is that vaccinations aren’t happening quickly enough or equitably enough around the world. The zero-covid policy of many Asian countries has saved lives and kept local economies going in stark contrast to much of the rest of the world. The difference is now less favorable as highly vaccinated countries begin opening, while in Asia, outbreaks continue to impact largely unvaccinated countries, resulting in more closed borders and businesses.
We can see the non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures have been impactful to slow or reduce recent infection rates across all RNA countries except Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand. We are starting to see a push to purchase and quicken the pace of vaccinations in many locations.
The recent approval for emergency use of China’s Sinvoc vaccine by the World Health Organization will be a big help in using the vaccines via the COVAX program and in other Asia countries. Sinovac does not need ultra-low storage temperatures which have made distribution of other vaccines challenging in some countries. Yesterday’s announcement that the US will donate 19 million to COVAX, of which 7 million are designated for Asia, will also help speed the vaccination efforts.