On 28 April, the “Efficient COVID vaccination rollout in ASEAN” webinar successfully brought together heads of private hospital associations, infectious diseases specialists and members of the region’s healthcare community for an afternoon of insightful discussions.
Organised by Hospital Management Asia, the discussions were divided into three segments. Check out the videos for each segment below:
- Roundtable discussion: Private hospital participation in national COVID inoculation programmes: benefits and challenges
Heads of private hospital associations from six countries in the region – Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – shared on the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations in their respective countries. They also discussed the different ways in which private hospitals have been involved in their nations’ vaccination programmes. For example, private hospitals in the Philippines enter into tripartite agreements with the government and vaccine manufacturers for procurement of vaccines; while in Malaysia, private hospitals have been administering vaccines procured by the government, and are hoping to be given the nod to procure their own vaccines by this year.
The overall consensus is that while private hospitals stand ready to vaccinate, access to sufficient vaccines, to reach herd immunity, remains the top priority. Vaccines remain in short supply, particularly in India, which is facing a massive surge in cases. The region could come together as a bloc to negotiate with vaccine makers to ensure the region is not left behind in the global vaccination drive.
Watch the full-length discussion at this video.
- Confirming efficacy to promote public health: serology testing
There are still many unknowns about the COVID-19 vaccines, such as the duration of immunity they grant to individuals, and how the immunity differs in each individual.
While vaccination programmes are pushed out, it will be useful to conduct serology tests conducted alongside, said Dr Pearline Teo, Clinical & Scientific Consultant for Laboratory Diagnostics, Siemens Healthineers Asia Pacific. Serology tests measure the level of antibodies, thus when conducted at regular intervals, can help compare the level of immunity at different periods and in different people. This could then inform the authorities on their future public health strategies: if annual vaccinations are required, or if different vaccines work better in different groups of people, and so on.
Learn more about the role and importance of serology testing in this video.
- How ASEAN confirms COVID19 vaccine efficacy and comments on serology testing
Infectious diseases specialists Dr Leong Hoe Nam of Singapore’s Rophi Clinic, and Asst Prof Mondej Sookpranee of Medpark Hospital Thailand, discussed the usage of serology testing in the ASEAN context. While the most urgent task at hand is to secure enough vaccines for the population, serology tests will help countries finetune their vaccine distribution strategy, by prioritising precious vaccine supplies to those with low levels of antibodies.
Establishing the minimum level of antibodies to confer immunity, and ensuring that enough of the population obtains that level of immunity, will be key.
Don’t miss the full discussion by the two infectious disease experts in this video.