Asia plays the long game on Covid vaccine rollout

Asia plays the long game on Covid vaccine rollout

Having reined in virus with social controls, many countries wait for west to act as jab guinea pig

Asia has led the world in controlling the spread of Covid-19, but that very success has set the region behind the US and Europe in the race to vaccinate against the disease.

In countries with limited coronavirus outbreaks, regulators have been happy to let westerners act as guinea pigs for quickly approved jabs, while in others, the low level of Covid-19 cases means that locally developed vaccines have struggled to complete clinical trials.

Asia’s vaccine caution contrasts with fervent enthusiasm in the US and Europe, where coronavirus infection is raging and authorities have made it a point of pride to grant approvals quickly.

The differing approaches raise the prospect of a world where some nations are vaccinated and others are not, which could affect the speed of economic recovery and hinder international travel.

In countries such as South Korea, Vietnam and Australia, controlled outbreaks make vaccination a choice rather than a necessity.