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The SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute (SDGHI) is pleased to share the SDGHI Perspectives essay series, an online platform for writers in the global health community. The SDGHI Perspectives essay series is a collection of contributed essays from authors around the world, showcasing their distinctive viewpoints on pertinent global health topics of our time.

Following a year of global uncertainties, shifting national policies and unprecedented scientific breakthroughs, the inaugural theme for SDGHI Perspectives is COVID-19 A Year Later. The first essay series under this theme will delve into different dimensions of COVID-19 Vaccines in Southeast Asia (SEA), including issues related to vaccine supply, confidence, delivery, distribution and beyond.

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COVID-19 A Year Later: COVID-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia

​Routine childhood immunisation during COVID-19 in Southeast Asia: important as ever [click to read]

Dr Paul Pronyk, Visiting Professor and Deputy Director, Global Programmes and Research, SDGHI

This essay examines the effects of the COVID-pandemic on routine immunisation, with a focus on the ASEAN region addressing how children remain particularly vulnerable to COVID-19's indirect effects. The author highlights several factors that contribute to reductions in availability and access to immunisation services and underlines a number of immediate steps required to reduce child mortality from vaccine preventable diseases amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whither ASEAN regulatory agility and convergence in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? [click to read]

Prof John CW Lim, founding Executive Director of the Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CoRE) and Policy Core Lead, SDGHI

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a positive display of regulatory agility globally, regionally and nationally to facilitate the speedy development and emergency use authorisations of new diagnostics and vaccines.  This essay describes health products regulatory agility and regulatory convergence in the context of ASEAN, and the apparent challenge to convergence as a result of member states securing diverse COVID-19 vaccines for their own populations without a coordinated regional approach.  The author is of the view that in spite of this, the pandemic may in fact spur and reinforce regional regulatory convergence and cooperation going forward.

What we need more than COVID-19 vaccines [click to read]

Dr Susann Roth, Advisor and Chief of Knowledge Advisory Services Center, Asian Development Bank

Martina Merten, Public Health Journalist and Communication Expert, Freelance consultant at Asian Development Bank

Dr Matthias Helble, Senior Economist, Asian Development Bank

A discussion on what it takes to roll out COVID-19 vaccination programs in developing countries and how regional approaches are required to enhance transparency and surveillance of vaccination programs. The essay highlights that it takes more than vaccines to prevent, manage and respond to pandemics like COVID-19 and that we need to rethink how we invest in patient-centric care and address determinants of health in Asian countries.

A V(accine)-shaped recovery for Southeast Asia [click to read]

Dr Swee Kheng Khor, Independent Health Policies Specialist

On the need for SEA nations to overcome major technical hurdles, manage socio-political objectives and ensure equitable distribution as part of their vaccine response efforts. This essay stresses the importance of a coordinated response between national, regional and global actors for vaccine delivery and distribution despite the heterogeneity across the SEA region.


The views expressed by authors contributing to the essay series are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SDGHI.