Asian countries that led the way in controlling Covid-19 last year have become laggards in the battle against the virus as their efforts to vaccinate their populations fall behind other parts of the world.
The problems with rollout vary from country to country, but across most of Asia one factor is constant: a lack of vaccines to administer. Having failed to develop or produce vaccines at home, many Asian countries must wait for deliveries from Europe or the US, leaving them at the back of the queue.
While Asia has become the factory of the world, making up an increasingly dominant share of the global economy, the race for vaccines has shown it still lags behind in pharmaceuticals.
Among advanced economies, Japan, South Korea and Australia are stragglers: Japan has given just 6.3 doses of vaccine per 100 people, compared with 90 in the UK. In large developing economies, such as Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, inoculation campaigns…