World's fastest vaccination campaign in numbers

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A patient receives a dose of vaccine against Covid-19, in Aristotelous Square, in the center of Thessaloniki on November 26, 2021.
A patient receives a dose of vaccine against Covid-19, in Aristotelous Square, in the center of Thessaloniki on November 26, 2021.
  • 4.3 billion people worldwide have received at least one vaccine dose since the rollout began a year ago.
  • AstraZeneca and Pfizer are the most widely used vaccines, followed by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Sputnik V.
  • Africa is the least vaccinated continent while the United Arab Emirates leads the way. 

The Covid-19 global vaccination campaign –  the largest in history –  began a year ago, with Britain launching its drive on December 8, 2020.

Now half the world's population has had at least one shot.

But with richer countries now administering third booster doses, many in poorer ones are still waiting for their first jab.

These glaring inequities have come to dog the campaign with the emergence of the Omicron variant, as have controversies over rare side effects and opposition to mandatory vaccines.

Here is an overview of the year based on an AFP vaccine database.

One in two 

While the United Kingdom led mass vaccination, Russia and China had already started vaccinations, targeting specific cities and regions.

In the early days of its roll-out, the UK mainly used the AstraZeneca/Oxford jab.

Many other richer countries followed suit in December –  the United States, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates on December 14, Saudi Arabia and Israel in the days that followed, and the European Union at the end of the month.

They mainly used the US-German mRNA messenger Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

READ | Omicron may soon cause over half of the Covid-19 infections in Europe, says EU

One year on, 55 percent of the world's population – 4.3 billion people –  have received at least one dose.

At least 44 percent, or 3.4 billion, are completely vaccinated, according to an AFP count based on official sources. In all, 8.1 billion doses have been administered around the world.

The 20 or so vaccines available have been developed in a record time after the "novel coronavirus" first emerged in China in late 2019.

Apart from AstraZeneca and Pfizer, the most widely used are those developed by the US giants Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, China's Sinopharm and Sinovac, and Sputnik V from Russia's Gamaleya Institute.

Poor lag behind

Although vaccination campaigns were under way in most countries by June 2021, they are going at a snail's pace in most poorer countries and, in some cases, have been suspended altogether because they can't get doses.

The Covax mechanism, run by the World Health Organisation, the Gavi Alliance, and the Cepi coalition, aimed to guarantee equitable access to vaccines.

It made its first delivery in late February to Ghana.

But struggling to compete with rich countries which are prepared to pay high prices, Covax has so far delivered just 591 million doses to 144 countries or territories, far short of its initial objective of two billion doses in 2021.

READ | Covid-19: Nigeria recruits churches, mosques to speed up mass vaccinations

To date, nine doses have been given per 100 inhabitants in countries classified as low income by the World Bank.

The global average is 104 per 100 inhabitants, and high-income countries have managed 149.

Africa is the least vaccinated continent, with 18 doses per 100 inhabitants.

UAE leads the race 

Thirty-nine of the 50 most jabbed countries are rich, with the United Arab Emirates leading.

It has already completely vaccinated nine out of 10 of its people.

Close behind are Portugal (87 percent), Singapore (86 percent), Qatar (85 percent), Chile and Malta (84 percent), Cuba (81 percent), South Korea, and Cambodia (80 percent).

Countries that fired the starting gun on the vaccination campaigns due to their privileged access to vaccines are now lagging.

Britain has jabbed just 68 percent, Israel 67 percent, and the US 60 percent.

Eritrea and North Korea last

Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the least vaccinated countries globally, having jabbed less than 0.1 percent of their populations.

Eritrea and North Korea are the only two who have not vaccinated at all.

Boosters and shots for kids

High-income countries are way ahead among some 80 nations that have started administering booster doses. These include almost all countries in Europe, North America, and the Gulf.

Most also vaccinate children aged from 12 to 17.

Some, like the US, Canada, Israel, Chile, the UAE, Cuba, Cambodia, and Venezuela, are also vaccinating children under 12. 

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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