Although more than four 4bn doses of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines have been administered around the world, poorer countries are still struggling to secure precious shots despite recent donations.
At least 4,014,302,550 doses had been injected into people’s arms as of 1100 GMT yesterday, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.
Global injections have slowed slightly: the four-billionth dose was reached in 30 days, while it took 26 days to reach the previous one.
The first and second billion were reached after about 140 and 40 days respectively.
Forty per cent (1.6bn) of the 4bn shots have been administered in China.
India (451mn) and the United States (343mn) make up the trio of countries that have administered the most jabs.
In terms of population among countries with more than 1mn people, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the leader: 168 first and second doses administered per 100 inhabitants.
Uruguay follows with 137 per 100 inhabitants, then Bahrain (134).
The UAE is close to having 70% of its population fully vaccinated while Uruguay and Bahrain have both reached more than 60%.
After this the leading countries are Qatar, Chile and Canada (129 shots per 100 inhabitants), Israel (128), Singapore (125), the United Kingdom, Mongolia and Denmark (124), and Belgium (122).
These countries have fully vaccinated more than half their populations.
Not far off are China (111), the United States (104) and the European Union (103).
The US and EU have fully vaccinated nearly half their population.
China does not communicate this information.
However the United States, whose campaign kicked off with gusto, now is vaccinating much more slowly.
Over the past week it jabbed only 0.2% of its population every day, far behind China (1.1%) and the EU (0.7%).
In terms of speed, Bhutan is currently leading the vaccination race, jabbing 4.9% of its population every day.
As with first doses of its vaccines earlier this year, the country has administered second doses to nearly 60% of its population in the space of 10 days, a rapidity unmatched by any other country.
Malaysia and Sri Lanka are next in the speed rankings, jabbing 1.5% of their population every day.
In Europe the quickest countries are Denmark, Ireland and Turkey (1.1% each), ahead of Belgium and France (1%).
Most poor countries have now started to vaccinate, mainly thanks to the Covax scheme and donations of unused doses by rich countries.
The vaccination coverage remains very unequal.
High-income countries (as defined by the World Bank) administered an average of 97 doses per 100 inhabitants compared with just 1.6 doses in low-income countries.
Africa remains the continent which is most lagging behind, with 4.8 doses administered per 100 habitants, 10 times less than the world average of 52 shots.
While many rich countries are already vaccinating their adolescents, three countries are not yet vaccinating at all: Burundi, Eritrea and North Korea.
Meanwhile, the Covax facility is expecting to receive 250mn donated Covid-19 vaccine doses over the next six to eight weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
The influx of doses is a major boost for the scheme, which is aimed at ensuring poorer countries can access jabs and has so far delivered 152 million vaccine doses to 137 participating territories.
In a weekly operational update issued on Wednesday, the WHO said that at a recent UN Crisis Management Team meeting it “reported that there will be increased vaccine donations to the Covax facility, projecting an additional 250mn vaccines over the next six to eight weeks”.
Covax is co-led by the WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, with Unicef using its vaccine logistics expertise to handle the delivery flights.
Under Covax, the 92 poorest countries can access jabs for free, with donors covering the cost.
The Serum Institute of India plant, producing AstraZeneca doses, was supposed to be the early backbone of Covax’s supply chain – but India restricted exports to combat its own devastating coronavirus surge.
Following those delivery problems, Covax is increasingly reliant on donated doses from wealthy countries which have bought more batches than they need.
France’s Indian Ocean territory of La Reunion will go into a partial lockdown at the weekend due to a surge in Covid-19 infections.
There is growing concern among officials in Paris over the infection rates in France’s overseas territories in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific where vaccination uptake is far lower than the nationwide average.
La Reunion will from tomorrow go into partial lockdown for the next two weeks, with movement only allowed 10km from people’s home in the daytime and 5km on a Sunday, said its top official, prefect Jacques Billant.
In the evenings, there will be a strict curfew from 6pm until 5am in the morning, with no movement allowed expect for essential reasons, he added.
Portugal said yesterday that it would lift a night-time curfew and restrictions on restaurants’ opening hours from Sunday, with around half of the population fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, helping to control a recent surge in infections.
“Vaccination has contributed very significantly to (allow) these measures ... but we cannot ignore the fact that ... the virus continues to circulate ... the pandemic has not disappeared,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference.
Greece’s south Aegean islands were marked dark red on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Covid-19 map yesterday after a rise in infections, meaning all but essential travel to and from the region is discouraged.
The cluster of 13 islands includes Greece’s most popular destinations for foreign tourists – Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes – which, combined, draw millions of people every summer.
He warned that the situation was also worrying on the islands of Zakynthos, Tinos, Lefkada, Santorini, Paros and Rhodes.
Spain’s Catalonia has extended for a second time a nighttime curfew that was imposed on the tourist hotspot to fight a Covid-19 surge.
A Catalan court approved the regional government’s request to extend the nightly curfew between 1am and 6am in 163 cities including Barcelona and popular beach resorts like Sitges and Salou.
The measure was imposed in the northwestern region bordering France in mid-July and this is the second time that it is extended.
Catalonia has Spain’s highest Covid-19 incidence rate.
Hundreds of people meanwhile blocked traffic in the centre of Slovakia’s capital Bratislava, protesting against a law which gives those who have had the Covid-19 vaccine easier access to public events and spaces, Slovak media reported yesterday.
The legislation, which requires people who haven’t been inoculated to take a test for such access, was approved by parliament on Sunday and signed by President Zuzana Caputova on Monday.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Greece inaugurates the first of five ‘closed’ camps for asylum-seekers
Hundreds of seabirds found dead along UK coasts
UK govt moves to manage impact of rising gas prices
France recalls ambassadors to Australia, US in escalating row
Chess legend sues over 'Queen’s Gambit' portrayal
Second Dutch minister resigns
UN extends Afghan mission mandate
Pelosi cautions Britain over N Irish peace deal
UK launches post-Brexit review of EU laws