The vaccine race: let’s take stock of the global situation

The vaccine race: let’s take stock of the global situation

26 February 2021 0 By Oscar Giacomin

Mass COVID-19 vaccinations across the world are continuing at a fast pace, with Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States leading the race and determined to meet their ambitious goals. To date (it’s now mid-February), according to data collected by Bloomberg, 173 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in 77 countries. Among the European countries, Great Britain stands out, which was the first to start the immunisation campaign. Having exceeded the threshold of 15 million people receiving at least one dose, London has thus reached the goal of covering the first 4 risk groups with at least one inoculation by 15 February.

The USA led by Joe Biden, who had promised 100 million vaccinations within the first 100 days of taking office, is also well advanced. For a few days the number of Americans who have received at least one dose of the vaccine has exceeded the number of infected people and the daily average is 1.368 million inoculated doses: at this rate, the milestone would be reached in 73 days, almost a month before planned.

In Israel, the inoculation campaign is continuing in leaps and bounds in the lead up to the elections on 23 March, the fourth in two years, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing yet another re-election on this issue. Out of 9 million inhabitants, almost 6.4 million inoculated doses have been injected, that is 70.46 doses per 100 people; 42.8% of citizens have received the first dose, while 27.7% have received both. In light of the decline in infections, the Israeli government is thinking about the reopening of shops and services, aiming to ‘reward’ those who have been vaccinated. Thus, shopping malls, gyms, hotels and other facilities may already reopen their doors at the end of February for those with immunity certificates.

In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the vaccination campaign began one month ago, and to date the exact number of people who have received the serum is not known. The data is not yet officially disclosed and there is only fragmentary information. According to Denis Logunov, deputy director for scientific research at the Gamaleya Center, where the Sputnik V serum was developed, at least 2.2 million people have received the first dose. Some officials told the independent site Meduza that vaccinated data will soon be published on the ‘Stopcoronavirus.rf’ website, but they did not specify when and in what form. The Russian Federation Ministry of Health, responsible for collecting information on vaccinations, has not yet given final consent for this publication.

Still in the dark are also the numbers concerning China, where only 40.52 million doses have been injected so far, equal to 2.89 doses per 100 people. The Government appears to be giving priority to ‘vaccine diplomacy’ over the national inoculation program, with Chinese pharmaceutical companies exporting more doses of the vaccine than those are administered in the country. According to the Hong Kong newspaper ‘South China Morning Post’, China has exported at least 46 million doses of vaccines or their active ingredients around the world. According to some analysts, China’s success in controlling the domestic epidemic has reduced the need to rush with the vaccination campaign.

In France, where a controversy has ignited due to the slow start of the vaccination campaign, to date just over 2.2 million people have received the first dose and almost 650,000 both the first and the second doses.

There is also debate in Brazil over the slowness of the inoculation campaign and the delayed supplies: so far only some 5 million people (2.4%) have been immunised, despite the country having a long tradition in the field, with a vaccination program recognised around the world. In the meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro has discussed with Netanyahu co-operation for the development of drugs and vaccines against the coronavirus, referring to a nasal spray developed by the Ichilov Medical Center in Israel, which would have an effectiveness close to 100% in severe cases (29 out of 30).

In Italy, around 3 million people have been vaccinated so far, with less than 1.3 million second shots. Over 2.4 million doses have been distributed in Spain, with more than 1 million second doses.

Based on updated data from the Robert Koch Institut, in Germany over 2.7 million people have already been vaccinated, and just over 1.4 million have been given the second dose of BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved in the European Union.

In Portugal, out of a population of about 10 million, just over 500,000 doses have been administered, while Turkey has given its citizens just over 4.5 million Sinovac vaccine doses (3.9 million first doses, and a little less than 630,000 second shots).

Finally, it should be noted that over 6 million doses have been administered in 12 countries belonging to a large region extending from North Africa to the Middle East, from Morocco to Pakistan. 

Oscar Giacomin  / General Manager, Facto Edizioni

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