COVID-19, Vaccination and Reopening in Southeast Asia: Country-level and ASEAN responses


About the Webinar

Mass vaccination has been central to COVID-19 mitigation, and a precondition for reviving economic activity and reopening borders. However, various factors complicate the process of vaccine acquisition, from the global race for a multiple-sourced product to the moral imperative of universal provision. The world has witnessed massive procurement through market channels, resulting in high vaccination rates in most high-income countries and some upper-middle income countries while leaving behind many low-income countries. Major powers have engaged in vaccine diplomacy; multilateral programmes such as Covax and regional entities like ASEAN have sought to coordinate equitable access.

Southeast Asia has seen varying approaches and outcomes. Disparity in vaccination rates are not excessive, but differences in each country’s process, and the quest to secure supplies or establish local production, hold out important lessons. This webinar will explore responses in the region to the vaccination and reopening challenge, investigating country-level approaches and ASEAN’s initiatives. This is the fifth webinar of an ISEAS regional research project, “COVID-19 Impact and Response in Southeast Asia”.

About the Panel Speakers

Dr Tham Siew Yean is Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and Professor Emeritus, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interests cover trade in goods and services as well as foreign direct investment (FDI). She is currently working on BRI projects in Malaysia, trade in higher education services and digital trade in ASEAN. She has a PhD in Economics from University of Rochester, USA.

Sara Abdullah is Assistant Director and Head of Political Cooperation Division 1 at the ASEAN Secretariat. She previously worked on regional policies on education and youth development at the Secretariat. Sara holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Anthropology, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English Linguistics from the National University of Singapore.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


Feb 23 2022


10:00 am - 11:30 am