Southeast Asian countries want greater assistance in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines as the area fights to manage record infections and fatalities caused by the Delta form, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The area spared the worst of the epidemic last year, but in recent weeks has witnessed the highest number of deaths globally, as surging infections strain frail healthcare systems and reveal slow vaccine rollouts.
“This COVID-19 surge driven by the Delta variant is claiming a tragic toll on families across Southeast Asia and it’s far from over,” Alexander Matheou, Asia Pacific Director, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a statement.
Most Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, have reported record COVID-19 infections or fatalities, according to the report. Despite the fact that nations such as Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom have fully vaccinated more than 60% of their populations, and the United States has vaccinated more than 50%, Southeast Asian countries lag far behind, according to a Reuters COVID-19 tracker.
In comparison, the most populous Southeast Asian nations, Indonesia and the Philippines have only completely vaccinated about 10-11 percent of their citizens, while Vietnam has less than 2%.
“In the short-term, we need much greater efforts by richer countries to urgently share their millions of excess vaccine doses with countries in Southeast Asia, said Matheou, adding that vaccine companies and governments also needed to share technology and boost production.
“These coming weeks are critical for scaling up treatment, testing, and vaccinations, in every corner of all countries in Southeast Asia,” he said, adding that there must be a target for vaccination rates of 70-80%.
(News – Reuters)