A year since the COVID-19 outbreak, countries are racing to secure and distribute vaccines to their citizens.
The US and UK have already begun vaccinating priority groups and the public. In Asia, only a handful of countries have reached this stage — the biggest being China and India, which have extensive manufacturing capabilities necessary to serve as vaccine production hubs.
Most other countries are still waiting for regulators to approve vaccine candidates before they can roll out inoculation programs — and in the meantime, are scrambling to sign deals with pharmaceutical companies to buy the coveted doses.
Most countries in Southeast Asia have signed deals to receive China’s vaccine candidates, as well as additional deals with other providers.
Singapore leads the vaccine race, having approved the Pfizer jab in December. By the end of 2021, all Singaporeans are expected to be vaccinated, free of charge, according to the Ministry of Health.