Our Covid-19 vaccination table includes updated information on the immunization strategies selected EMs are pursuing and the challenges they face.
Below are some of this week’s key developments. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss any of the countries mentioned in more detail.
Click on ‘View PDF’ to see the table.
- Chile’s vaccine rollout continues to progress at speed with as many as 250,000 doses being administered on a daily basis, though rising case numbers mean there is no room for slippage.
- Colombia’s government hopes to ramp up its vaccine rollout over April with 5mn Sinovac doses and 2.5mn Pfizer doses due to arrive; the government is also optimistic that the recently approved Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine will eventually help accelerate the rollout.
- More than 20% of Hungary’s population has received at least one jab as of 30 March, which is one of the highest rates in the European Union (EU); the pace of vaccination continues to accelerate week-over-week.
- Delays in the arrival of AZ-licensed vaccines from India and a slowdown in the domestic production of Sinovac are causing Indonesia to ration its existing supply, which could slow its efforts to reach its near-term daily vaccination target rate.
- Mexico is altering its vaccination strategy to focus on Mexico City and surrounding areas in a bid to limit the impact of a third wave of new cases.
- Poland’s government has expanded the list of vaccination sites and persons who are eligible to administer Covid-19 jabs amid expectations of substantially greater vaccine deliveries in Q2; authorities aim to immunize 26.1% of citizens by the end of Q2.
- Taiwan’s vaccine rollout began on 22 March with the prime minister and health minister receiving AZ vaccinations; the campaign is likely to proceed slowly, with only 44,500 doses distributed to hospitals after 117,000 arrived in the island in early March.
In Brazil, Sao Paulo Health Institute Butatan announced the development of a new national vaccine (Butanvac). The new immunizer, however, still depends on national health regulator (ANVISA) approval.
- China’s Sinopharm is researching whether a booster shot would improve the efficacy of its two vaccines; a booster would add a third jab to the current two-shot schedule.
- In Serbia, ample supply of Chinese and Russian vaccines has enabled authorities to offer vaccinations to medical tourists from neighboring Balkan countries, though Serbia also has some Pfizer and AZ doses.
- South Africa’s vaccine procurement has received a boost from an agreement with Aspen Pharmacare to make 30mn doses of the locally produced J&J single-shot vaccine available, while the African Union will receive up to 400mn doses by end-2022.
- Thailand will allow the private sector to import vaccines following similar actions in the Philippines and Indonesia.
- Supply issues and the delayed availability of a locally developed vaccine are causing the Vietnamese government to hasten negotiations with foreign suppliers, in an uncharacteristic misstep.
- A March survey shows rising vaccine hesitation in the Philippines, with only 16% willing to receive a shot and 61% saying no, while another 23% were undecided. The reluctance seems to stem from perceptions of the Sinovac vaccine.
Infections and new variants
- Health authorities in Argentina have decided to delay the application of second doses to allow more people to be vaccinated with a first dose in view of supply difficulties and the fact that the P.1 (aka “Brazilian”) Covid-19 variant is now spreading fast.
- A study released last week by Peru’s National Health Institute (INS) says that the Brazilian variant of concern (VOC) now accounts for 40% of new Covid-19 cases in Lima.
- Kenya faces a third Covid-19 wave; variants identified include B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and A.23.1. In response, all gatherings have been banned in Nairobi and four adjoining counties.
- Russian health authorities are expected to approve the export-oriented one-jab Sputnik Light vaccine shortly; it is expected to provide short-term (3-4 month) immunity from severe forms of Covid-19 and would be targeted at younger demographics.