Covid vaccine rates worldwide as rich nations hog jabs allowing new variants to emerge


More than 67% of us are double jabbed, and in countries including China and Spain the percentage is higher still. But in nations such as Nigeria and Ethiopia little over 1% are fully inoculated

A child receives a Covid jab in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A child receives a Covid jab in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As wealthy countries pray jabs will protect them from the new Covid variant, many struggling nations cannot fall back on that hope.

We can boast of upping our booster rollout while only 55.4% of the world’s population has a dose of a vaccine at all.

There are glaring gaps in coverage with numerous countries, many developing nations in Africa where new variant Omicron was first detected, seeing vaccination rates in single percentage figures only.

More than 67% of us are double jabbed, and in countries including China and Spain the percentage is higher still. But in nations such as Nigeria and Ethiopia little over 1% are fully inoculated.

Map shows how unevenly Covid vaccines are being distributed around the world

South Africa has only 23.76% of its population fully vaccinated. These low rates can allow new variants to mutate, and are why critics argue richer nations should act quickly to donate doses to those in need.

Yesterday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown criticised Boris Johnson for claiming the issue in these countries has “not been supply, but hesitancy and lack of take-up”.

Mr Brown, World Health Organisation ambassador for global health financing, said: “The biggest problem is not the reluctance of people in Africa to be vaccinated but the failure of the West to honour our promise to supply the doses.”

He explained the UK has only pledged 100 million doses to poorer countries, behind the EU’s 550 million and the US’s one billion, and in five months released just 11% of those.

Gordon Brown criticised Boris Johnson for his comments about the lack of vaccines in poorer countries
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Boris Johnson claimed the issue in some countries was not the lack of jabs, but vaccine hesitancy
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Getty Images)

He argued hoarding is “leaving all of us at risk when – through no fault of their own – countries have become spaces for outbreaks of new variants of the virus”.

Mr Brown said leaders should lift intellectual property restrictions on coronavirus vaccines, so countries in need can produce their own jabs. World Health Organization head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also criticised countries for stockpiling
vital vaccines.

He said: “Every day, there are six times more boosters administered globally than primary doses in low-income countries.

“This is a scandal that must stop now.”

Some countries in the world have low vaccination rates
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Getty Images)

Here, a map of the world illustrates the stark gaps between nations’ vaccine rates using figures from Our World in Data.

United States: 57.88% fully vaccinated, 10.91% part-vaccinated

Rollout began last December. Anyone aged five or over now eligible. Certain groups recommended for booster.

Haiti: 0.58% fully vaccinated, 0.44% partly vaccinated

Rollout began in July after first Covax delivery but was hindered by an earthquake in August.

Jamaica: 17.01% fully vaccinated, 5.24% partly vaccinated

First Caribbean country to get a Cocax delivery in March but misinformation is contributing to reluctant take up.

DR of Congo: 0.06% fully vaccinated, 0.09% part-vaccinated

Covax sent first jabs in March but misinformation, often spread by religious leaders, and distrust of West is issue.

Lebanon: 24.69% fully vaccinated, 3.34% partly vaccinated

Launched rollout in February, but difficult access for refugee and migrant groups, as well as widespread misinformation.

Ethiopia: 1.21% fully vaccinated, 4.36% partly vaccinated

Including refugees in its vaccine rollout and receiving doses from Covax, but issues with knowledge and supply.

UK: 67.85% fully vaccinated, 6.77% partly vaccinated

Rollout began last winter with the vulnerable. Single doses being offered to 12-17s. Boosters for over 40s.

Burundi: 0.00% fully vaccinated, 0.01% partly vaccinated

One of the last countries to begin vaccination programme, from October. Leaders have downplayed pandemic.

South Sudan: 1.17% fully vaccinated, 0.46% partly vaccinated

Few doses have been supplied and delivery is vastly more expensive due to the limited road network.

China: 74.53% fully vaccinated, 10.30% partly vaccinated

By June it had administered a billion doses of domestically made jabs. Now vaccinating kids as young as three

Pakistan: 22.13% fully vaccinated, 13.35% partly vaccinated

Slow start, but now up to one million doses a day – more than double a few months ago. Kids over 12 get jab.

Singapore: 91.91% fully vaccinated, 1.08% partly vaccinated

Jabs for everyone over 12. From December 8 those unvaccinated by choice will be charged for medical bills.

Australia: 72.46% fully vaccinated, 4.96% partly vaccinated

Rollout began February, most recent target was for 80% vaccination of people 16 and over by December.

A person receives a Covid vaccine in Chesham town centre
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Maureen McLean/REX/Shutterstock)

Syria: 4.01% fully vaccinated, 0.86% partly vaccinated

Began providing jabs in April, and the government is asking more people to come forward now.

Uganda: 1.94% fully vaccinated, 6.21% partly vaccinated

Few doses and reliant on donations. US and UK have donated, but not enough. Hopes to have 12.3m by 2022.

Spain: 80.40% fully vaccinated, 1.51% partly vaccinated

Rollout from December 2020, began offering booster jabs in late October to over 70s.

Yemen: 1.16% fully vaccinated, 0.60% partly vaccinated

One of highest Covid fatality rates in the world. Already running 88% short on doses promised under Covax scheme.

South Africa: 23.76% fully vaccinated, 4.54% partly vaccinated

Began immunising children aged 12 to 17 in October, but depends on donations and has administered 78% of supply.

UAE: 88.40% fully vaccinated, 9.70% partly vaccinated

Began end of 2020 after making China’s Sinopharm vaccine available to frontline health workers and officials.

Nigeria: 1.63% fully vaccinated, 1.29% partly vaccinated

Had hoped to vaccinate 40% by end of year, but lack of doses and reluctant uptake make this impossible.

Zambia: 3.31% fully vaccinated, 0.95% partly vaccinated

Vaccination programme was relaunched last month with arrival of new doses, but misinformation is rife.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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