Thailand Approves AstraZeneca: Southeast Asia Vaccine Tracker

People watch a live news broadcast of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo receiving a dose of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Covid-19 vaccine, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Jokowi, as the first president's widely know, received the first dose of China's Sinovac vaccine in a televised event as he seeks to build public confidence in the shots.
People watch a live news broadcast of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo receiving a dose of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Covid-19 vaccine, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Jokowi, as the first president’s widely know, received the first dose of China’s Sinovac vaccine in a televised event as he seeks to build public confidence in the shots. (Dimas Ardian/)

(Bloomberg) — AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine won approval from Thailand, becoming the third company to clear regulatory requirements for use in Southeast Asia.

Thousands of people in Singapore and Indonesia have already received the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. vaccines, and their neighbors are signing more deals to procure supplies. China is also giving free vaccines to countries like the Philippines and Cambodia.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest and most populous economy, started its coronavirus vaccination program on Jan. 13, with President Joko Widodo taking the first Sinovac jab as the race to immunize people against Covid-19 gains pace.

Wealthier but smaller Singapore — the first in Southeast Asia to start an official Covid-19 vaccination program — began inoculating healthcare workers with the Pfizer shot on Dec. 30. Its prime minister got his first dose on Jan. 8 and more than 60,000 individuals have received theirs as of Jan. 22.

​Strategies are evolving across the region as different supply deals are sealed. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte says he will take a Russian or Chinese vaccine, but his government’s first approval was for the Pfizer shot and the country says it’s close to a deal with Moderna Inc.

Indonesia, which is battling the worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, ended 2020 by switching up who’s on its priority list for shots — focusing on the elderly first instead of the young as previously announced. It was the earliest in the region to receive a vaccine shipment with a Sinovac supply in December.

Some countries are also involved in vaccine development and manufacturing, a testament to the variety of strategies employed by Southeast Asian nations. Here’s how the region of more than 650 million people is dealing with differing fiscal, demographic and distribution challenges in their vaccine strategies.

INDONESIA

STRATEGY:

Indonesia seeks to vaccinate 181.5 million people — about two-thirds of the population — by March 2022 and President Widodo has called on the cabinet to complete the program by end-2021.

The nation expects its vaccination program to cost more than 73 trillion rupiah ($5.2 billion). It plans to be able to vaccinate 16 million people a month; the initial phase of inoculations will target 1.3 million health workers and 17.4 million public workers nationwide during the first quarter of 2021.

The country will offer free vaccines to people. With about 13,000 community health centers and 9,000 hospitals across the country, the government says it will be able complete its targeted vaccination to achieve mass immunity.

  • The world’s fourth most populous nation is banking on both Western and Chinese vaccines, ordering 125.5 million doses from Sinovac, 50 million from AstraZeneca Plc and another 50 million from Novavax Inc., while developing 57.6 million of its own Merah Putih
  • It is now requesting 108 million free doses from the GAVI alliance, after previously saying it was seeking 54 million from the global vaccine facility
  • Talks are also on with Pfizer Inc. for 50 million doses and loaned cold storage facilities for the vaccine

TIMELINE:

January, 2021: Sinovac (More than 132,000 healthcare workers given shots)

  • President Widodo got his first dose of the Sinovac shot on Jan. 13 along with public and army representatives, which kicked off Indonesia’s inoculation program
  • Indonesia gave the first dose to 60,815 people in the first week of its mass inoculation drive. As of Jan. 22, more than 132,000 healthcare workers had been given shots
  • China’s Sinovac Biotech shipped 3 million doses of vaccines to the country in December; the local food and drug regulator approved them for emergency use in January
  • Even before the regulator’s approval, the government started distributing the vaccines to its 34 provinces spread across the world’s largest archipelago
  • Sinovac has shipped raw material for 45 million doses to be manufactured by Indonesia’s PT Bio Farma in January. The state firm aims to produce 24 million doses a month
  • PT Bio Farma plans to also produce shots for other countries through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations as early as the fourth quarter, according to Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises ministry. Bio Farma will produce 100 million doses a year for CEPI.

2Q 2021: AstraZeneca

  • Indonesia will get the AstraZeneca vaccines delivered in stages starting from as early as April through the first quarter of 2022
  • The deal also includes the option for the country to purchase an additional 50 million doses.

MALAYSIA

STRATEGY:

Malaysia’s government aims to get as many people inoculated within a year of getting the first batch of vaccines in February, Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in mid-January.

The nation’s vaccination program will focus on healthcare workers, the elderly and those with chronic diseases, while individuals under 60 will get immunized by or after the third quarter, he said, adding the immunization drive will be staggered over 18 months.

Malaysia is spending $504 million to buy enough shots to cover 26.5 million people, or about 80% of its population. It will start vaccinations from February, according to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

The country will have a “slight extra” stockpile of vaccines as only those 18 years old and above will be inoculated. The excess vaccines will be administered to migrant workers, expatriates, and non-Malaysian residents, the cost of which must be borne by their employers.

Pfizer vaccines will probably be administered to those in urban areas due to the need for ultra-cold storage, while AstraZeneca vaccines will be deployed to rural areas.

  • Malaysia is set to secure 6.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax facility, and another 6.4 million directly, enough to inoculate 20% of the country’s population, according to the science and technology minister. The first batch is expected in the second quarter of 2021
  • The country in January agreed to buy an additional 12.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, an order that will see Malaysia securing 25 million doses in total of the vaccine. That’s enough to cover 39% of the population, according to the health ministry
  • Malaysia’s Pharmaniaga Bhd. and China’s Sinovac signed an agreement for 14 million doses
  • The government is in final negotiations with CanSino Biologics Inc. for 3.5 million doses, and for 6.4 million shots of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Khairy said. The deals will involve local companies that can provide fill-finish manufacturing capacity
  • The nation is in talks with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, Khairy said
  • Malaysia was due to conduct its first vaccine trial involving 3,000 volunteers in late January. It would be a phase-III trial on a vaccine candidate developed by the Institute of Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Malaysia signed an agreement with China in October to be given priority access to Covid-19 vaccines that China develops.

TIMELINE:

1Q 2021: Pfizer

  • The government has already secured 12.8 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech SE in a deal signed in late 2020. The first delivery of the shots is due before the end of February, Khairy said
  • Pfizer will deliver to Malaysia one million doses in the first quarter of 2021, 1.7 million in the second, 5.8 million in the third and 4.3 million in the final three months of the year
  • The agreement with Pfizer covers 6.4 million people and is contingent on the vaccine being approved by the U.S. FDA and Malaysia’s regulator
  • Malaysia has negotiated with Pfizer an option to boost its purchases to cover another 20% of its population

1Q 2021: Sinovac

  • China’s Sinovac signed an agreement to supply 14 million doses to Malaysia, which may be ready for distribution by the end of March.

MYANMAR

STRATEGY:

Myanmar expects to start inoculating its nearly 55 million population at the end of January. Frontline health workers and key government officials will be prioritized in the first phase of vaccination, to be followed by vulnerable groups such as those older than 65 years.

Myanmar’s Covid vaccination fund now has $267.1 million, and well-wishers continue cash donations, de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said. The government expects more than 40% of Myanmar’s population to be inoculated by the end of this year.

The government has also been cooperating with GAVI, the vaccine alliance, to get shots for 20% of its population through the Covax facility.

The Southeast Asian nation is also planning to allow the private sector to import WHO-approved vaccines later this year.

  • Other than the AstraZeneca deal it has signed, Myanmar also expects vaccines from Chinese developers to arrive in early 2021, with some doses from the Covax facility expected before April 7.

TIMELINE:

January, 2021: AstraZeneca

  • Myanmar ordered 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced under license by Serum Institute of India to vaccinate 15 million people
  • It will begin vaccinations by the end of January, with another 1.5 million doses donated by India arriving Jan. 22
  • The rollout will start with 750,000 people.

PHILIPPINES

STRATEGY:

The Philippines plans to buy 148 million vaccine doses to inoculate up to 70 million people this year, or more than half of its population.

The nation is eyeing 82.5 billion pesos ($1.7 billion) in vaccine purchases that it plans to fund with financing from multilateral agencies, state-owned banks and companies and bilateral sources, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said.

A number of mayors in Metropolitan Manila have separately drafted plans to provide shots to their constituents while waiting for guidelines on how local government units can purchase the vaccines, according to Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who also heads the Metro Manila Council of mayors.

Priority for vaccinations will be given to medical frontliners and workers in industries deemed critical, including low-income groups and those identified as at risk.

  • The government has signed deals for 30 million doses of the Covovax vaccine from the Serum Institute of India, and for 17 million doses from AstraZeneca
  • It is also in talks with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech and Russia’s Gamaleya research institute, according to Galvez
  • The Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology had offered 25 million doses
  • The country plans to buy 25 million doses from Sinovac, expecting the first shipment to arrive as early as February. It has allowed the Chinese company to hold clinical trials in the nation for its coronavirus vaccine, which President Duterte prefers to be inoculated with, officials said
  • The Philippines is nearing a deal with Moderna for as much as 20 million vaccine doses. A supply deal with Moderna will likely be finished in January
  • The nation is also expecting to receive fewer doses from the World Health Organization-backed Covax Facility, Galvez said
  • China will also donate 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to the Philippines
  • Pfizer has been approved for emergency use by the local FDA, while Gamaleya, AstraZeneca and Sinovac have applied for the same authorization
  • India-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd. has applied for emergency use authorization in the Philippines for its coronavirus vaccine, ABS-CBN News reported, citing the Food and Drug Administration head.

TIMELINE:

1Q 2021: Sinovac, Sputnik V

  • Vaccinations could start as early as the first quarter of 2021 using Sinovac and Russia’s Sputnik V shots, according to Galvez
  • Sinovac, Sputnik V are yet to receive the local FDA approval.

May, 2021: AstraZeneca

  • The country will receive as early as May 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines purchased by local companies which pooled about800 million pesos to buy 3 million shots.

SINGAPORE

STRATEGY:

The city-state has set aside roughly S$1 billion ($754 million) for vaccines, tapping the likes of Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc., Moderna Inc., Pfizer and Sinovac for supplies. It estimates it should have enough for its around 5.5 million-strong population by the third quarter of 2021.

The city-state is prioritizing healthcare workers, the elderly and those in jobs or settings where risk of a super-spreading event is high — such as the construction, marine and process sector, including migrant workers. For the elderly, it will begin with seniors aged 70 and above.

The allocation of vaccines will largely be based on medical indications, suitability and availability, the health minister said in January.

Singapore aims to vaccinate the entire adult population, though this will be voluntary. Vaccines will be free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents.

  • Singapore is on track to have a total of eight vaccination centers by end-February. It is also seeking to set up 36 vaccination centers from February to inoculate its population, according to local media
  • In addition to those listed below, Moderna has concluded an agreement with the Ministry of Health to supply the country with its mRNA-1273 vaccine

TIMELINE:

4Q 2020: Pfizer (More than 60,000 shots given)

  • Singapore started vaccinations on Dec. 30, 2020
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong got a first dose of the vaccine on Jan. 8, making him the first member of cabinet to get the coronavirus vaccine shot
  • Thousands of frontline staff in the aviation and maritime sectors are in line to get their jabs in January
  • The city-state received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 21. The shots are the only ones that had been approved by the Health Sciences Authority as of Jan. 22.
  • More than 60,000 individuals have received their first dose of the vaccine as of Jan. 22, including staff working in healthcare, frontline and essential services, as well as staff and senior citizens in nursing homes. Some employees at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases have also received their second dose.
  • Pilot vaccinations for senior citizens to start Jan. 27, and to be scaled up from mid-February

Early 2021: Arcturus

  • Arcturus and Singapore’s Economic Development Board have entered into a supply agreement for the right to buy the ARCT-021 vaccine
  • Arcturus may ship the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine it’s developing with local scientists early 2021
  • Results so far show that the vaccine could be effective as a single dose, the Straits Times reported, citing a professor who co-developed the vaccine with Arcturus.

January, 2021: Pfizer (More than 60,000 shots given)

  • More than 60,000 individuals have received their first dose of the vaccine as of Jan. 22, including staff working in healthcare, frontline and essential services, as well as staff and senior citizens in nursing homes. Some employees at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases have also received their second dose.
  • Pilot vaccinations for senior citizens to start Jan. 27, and to be scaled up from mid-February

THAILAND

STRATEGY:

Thailand wants to inoculate about 50% of its population by the end of this year.

It has previously said it will allow private companies and hospitals to import and sell Covid-19 vaccinations as long as those shots have been approved by the nation’s Food and Drug Administration.

Thailand’s health regulator endorsed AstraZeneca’s vaccine for emergency use, the health minister said on Jan. 21. It’s the first to win approval in Thailand, which also has ordered shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

The Southeast Asian nation plans to distribute shots free of cost, while the imports by private firms would allow those who can afford to pay for inoculations along with non-Thais an alternative pathway to get shots.

  • The government has so far approved plans to purchase a total of 63 million doses and the National Vaccine Institute is in talks with several manufacturers for additional supplies for delivery as early as the first quarter. The orders include the AstraZeneca vaccines, some of which will be produced locally by Siam Bioscience Ltd. through technology transfer
  • The government expects to receive the first batch of the Sinovac vaccine in February, and it expects to roll out locally-produced AstraZeneca shots in May
  • It has so far approved the orders of 2 million doses from Sinovac and 61 million doses from AstraZeneca
  • Not wanting to rely solely on inoculations from abroad, Thailand is also developing its own anti-coronavirus shot
  • An mRNA vaccine research project is set to start the first phase of clinical trials in April and the second phase in June. The vaccines may be available by end-2021 after receiving emergency-use authorization
  • A DNA vaccine effort by Thailand-based BioNet-Asia is expected to start its first phase of human trials in Australia early 2021.

TIMELINE:

February, 2021: Sinovac

  • The country has said it plans to roll out 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines in February, 800,000 in March, and 1 million in April

February, 2021: AstraZeneca

  • Thailand has an advance agreement with AstraZeneca to secure Covid-19 vaccines, which are expected to be distributed by mid-2021, the prime minister has said
  • The government expects 50,000 doses to arrive in February
  • The government has ordered 61 million shots. The regulatory nod will also open the door for imports by private Thai companies for administering the doses to people who can afford to pay
  • The country said early January it plans to roll out locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccines in May
  • Under agreement with AstraZeneca, Siam Bioscience will produce vaccines at its facilities, and Thailand will receive technology transfer
  • Thailand will supply coronavirus vaccines at “reasonable prices” to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam when it begins production, Prayuth said.

VIETNAM

STRATEGY:

Vietnam is working on developing vaccines and will work with suppliers when vaccines are available, according to a spokeswoman at the foreign affairs ministry.

  • It signed a deal with AstraZeneca to acquire about 30 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong said during a government briefing in January
  • It has also been negotiating to buy vaccines from Pfizer and companies from Russia and China, Cuong said
  • Vietnam has four companies and institutes working on developing vaccines. Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology began its human vaccine trials Dec. 17. The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals started human trials Jan. 21, according to the health ministry.

TIMELINE:

1Q 2021: AstraZeneca

  • Under the deal with AstraZeneca for about 30 million doses, Vietnam expects to receive vaccines each quarter this year, the deputy health minister said Jan. 4.
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