More people now vaccinated against Covid-19 than infected worldwide, data shows

The more than 100 million doses distributed span half a dozen different types of vaccines, developed in countries including the US, UK, China and Russia
The more than 100 million doses distributed span half a dozen different types of vaccines, developed in countries including the US, UK, China and Russia © Juan Mabromata, AFP
7 min

More people are now vaccinated against Covid-19 than have been infected by the virus that has swept the globe over the past year, a milestone on the road to ending the pandemic, based on data reported on Wednesday.

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Despite the landmark data, it remains unclear how long it will take to vaccinate the world. Many of those vaccinated have received only one of two doses required.

A total of 104.9 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to University of Oxford-based Our World in Data and the latest data on Wednesday from the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total vaccinated now exceeds the 104.1 million Covid-19 cases of infection in a Reuters global tracker.

Covid-19 infections are still rising in 44 countries and the virus has killed at least 2.26 million people globally, according to the Reuters tracker. Health experts are racing to vaccinate as many as possible in the face of new variants that are more contagious.

Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center confirms global purchases of 7.7 billion doses with another 5 billion doses under negotiation or reserved as optional expansions of existing deals.

Israel leads the world, having administered enough vaccine doses for 28% of its population, assuming every person needs two doses, according to Our World in Data. Vaccinations in the Palestinian territories have only just begun, however, after Israel delivered a first batch of 2,000 vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority on Monday.

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Meanwhile more than 10 million people have received a first vaccine dose in the UK, according to government figures published on Wednesday. Just under 500,000 have received their second jab, the health ministry said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has set a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February, hailed the “milestone”.

“There are many people and groups responsible for the UK’s vaccination programme,” he said, heralding everyone from scientists to delivery drivers to pharmacists for their roles.

“And it is thanks to their effort—the most colossal in the history of our National Health Service—that we have today passed the milestone.”

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World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appealed on Tuesday for greater cooperation between nations to achieve worldwide vaccination at a scale needed to end the pandemic.

“Despite the growing number of vaccine options, current manufacturing capacity meets only a fraction of global need,” he wrote in Foreign Policy magazine.

“Allowing the majority of the world’s population to go unvaccinated will not only perpetuate needless illness and deaths and the pain of ongoing lockdowns, but also spawn new virus mutations as Covid-19 continues to spread among unprotected populations,” he wrote.

Rich countries squabbling over Covid-19 vaccine supplies must consider the situation in poorer parts of the world, the WHO said last week, warning that hoarding of shots “keeps the pandemic burning”.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

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