The region lagging behind on Covid-19 vaccination rates

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

SOUTHEAST ASIA: Southeast Asia is lagging many other global regions, such as Western Europe and North America, in full vaccination rates, which will have serious knock-on effects when it comes to reopening their economies and generating employment opportunities.

With a huge disparity between Southeast Asian nations, Singapore and to a lesser extent Cambodia are proving beacons in an otherwise dark regional story. Boasting up to 80,000 jabs per day, Singapore leads the region with nearly 40% of its population fully vaccinated at the start of July. Cambodia runs a long second, with over 20% of its population (approximately 3.5 million out of 17 million) vaccinated by July 1. All other nations pale in comparison, Malaysia (10%), Laos (8.3%), Indonesia (5.4%), Thailand (4.6%) and Brunei (4%), The Philippines (2.9%) and Vietnam (0.3%) round out the biggest vaccination programmes.

Labour markets will not open-up and grow until Southeast Asia nations can fully vaccinate 60 to 70% of their populations. It is hoped that confidence will quickly return at that point, but some competitive export industries will suffer because of the slow relative speed. The once booming MICE industries of Southeast Asia, for example, could lose their competitive edges to new, emerging destinations with greater Covid-19 control.

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