Asia battles Omicron, US may struggle to supply 4th vaccine doses

March 23, 2022

According to a release from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), a handful of Asian countries that were hit later by Omicron variant surges are in different phases of their outbreaks, with South Korea seeing a possible peak.

In US developments, White House officials—bracing for a possible fresh spike in infections—warned that current funding shortfalls could block the government from buying enough COVID-19 vaccine for fourth doses for the general population. Without Congress passing a $15 billion COVID funding package, White House officials said the federal government would not have enough funds to buy fourth COVID-19 booster doses for every American who wanted one.

Also, officials are watching if the BA.2 subvariant, which makes up 26.3% of South Korea's sequenced samples, will raise COVID levels.

Elsewhere, China's ongoing surge continues with the highest levels in more than 2 years. Today the country reported 4,594 new local cases, which includes 2,313 symptomatic infections. The hardest-hit area for cases continues to be Jilin Province, where most infections are in Changchun and Jilin City.

Roughly a fourth of the asymptomatic cases are from Shanghai, where health officials are pressing on with block-by-block mass testing in an effort to detect and reduce the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, cases in Hong Kong appear to be declining from record daily levels in the first week of March, with 14,152 cases reported today, as Vietnam is still reporting cases at very high levels, with 131,709 more March 21.

The Centers for Disease Control COVID Data Tracker shows that 65.4% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 76.8% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 44.5% of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

Visit CIDRAP for the full release

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