A health worker prepares a vial of Chinese Sinovac vaccine against the coronavirus disease Covid-19 inside a movie theater transformed into a vaccination center in the suburb of Taguig City in Manila on June 14, 2021.

Ted Aljibe | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Asia was the first epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic and could be the last region to emerge from the pandemic – especially when it comes to travel, according to the Asia-Pacific president of a service company of travel.

“Unfortunately, Asia was the first… to enter the pandemic and we predict that it will likely be the last to exit the pandemic due to vaccination rates,” said Todd Handcock of Collinson Group, who offers a multitude of travel-related services. such as insurance and the operation of airport lounges.

According to Our World in Data, only 22.26% of people in Asia have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. In comparison, this figure is 53.03% in the United States and 63.56% in the United Kingdom.

The distribution of vaccines in the world is very unfair … and Asia suffers, especially Southeast Asia.

Alicia Garcia-Herrero

Asia-Pacific Chief Economist, Natixis

Handcock told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday that more and more people in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe are starting to travel again.

“We’ve seen some good domestic travel actually in markets like China, US, Russia, over the past few months,” he said.

“But from an international perspective, we are starting to see, as these markets see vaccination rates increase – the UK is currently one of the first in the world – we are starting to see travel pick up,” he added.

Slow vaccination campaigns

Beyond that, however, Garcia-Herrero pointed out that there is a “huge” malaise about vaccines in Asia “that we don’t find, one way or another, in Europe or in other parts of the world. ‘other parts of the world – or at least not to the same degree. “

Parts of Asia, including Taiwan and Vietnam have largely been successful in containing the virus, but have since been hit by a resurgence.

A Natixis report released in May said “more effective containment has led to a lesser sense of urgency” for vaccines in Asia. That’s outside of skepticism about newly developed vaccines, according to the report.

Carrot or stick approach?

Some Asian countries have introduced incentives to encourage more people to get vaccinated, going beyond the Free donuts and popcorn offered in the United States

In Hong Kong, there is a raffle for residents who get vaccinated. The first price ? A new one bedroom apartment valued at approximately HK $ 10,800,000 ($ 1.39 million).

India’s largest passenger airline, IndiGo, is offering discounts to customers who have received at least one dose of a vaccine. They can get 10% off the base fare when booking a flight, according to a press release from the company.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened people with jail time.

“You choose, vaccine or I put you in jail,” Duterte said on air Monday, according to Reuters. The comment came after reports of low attendance at vaccination centers in the capital Manila.

The president’s statement contradicts instructions from his health officials, who say the vaccine is voluntary, Reuters reported.

– CNBC’s Christina Farr, Hannah Miao and Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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