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INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 vaccines have been highly effective in reducing morbidity and mortality during the pandemic. While primary series vaccination rates are generally high in Southeast Asian (SEA) countries, various factors have limited the rollout and impact of booster doses. AREAS COVERED: We reviewed 79 studies in the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) VIEW-hub platform on vaccine effectiveness (VE) after primary immunizations with two-dose schedules. VE data were reported for SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths, and stratified across variants of concern, age, study design and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection for mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, and combinations of both), vector vaccines (AstraZeneca, AZD1222 [ChAdOx1 nCoV-19] 'Vaxzevria'), and inactivated virus vaccines (CoronaVac). EXPERT OPINION: The most-studied COVID-19 vaccines provide consistently high (>90%) protection against serious clinical outcomes like hospitalizations and deaths, regardless of variant. Additionally, this protection appears equivalent for mRNA vaccines and vector vaccines like AZD1222, as supported by our analysis of Asian and relevant international data, and by insights from SEA experts. Given the continued impact of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths on health-care systems worldwide, encouraging vaccination strategies that reduce this burden is more relevant than attempting to prevent broader but milder infections with specific variants, including Omicron.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Rev Vaccines

Publication Date



1 - 14


AZD1222, COVID-19, Omicron, Southeast Asia, mRNA, real-world, vaccine effectiveness, variants of concern, vector, waning immunity