Update on COVID Vaccine Rollout

COVID infections and deaths are decreasing, but we are not out of the woods yet; however,there is promising news. The vaccines are here!

After spending months in lockdown, scared of getting infected by the novel coronavirus, the world is beginning to open up, thanks to the mass immunizations in process. Pharmaceutical companies were working hard to develop a COVID vaccine for a while.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we now have a handful of effective antiviral serums on the market. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are some of the famous and perhaps better credible names in the industry that have released COVID vaccines and are yielding results. 

COVID Vaccine Rollout Worldwide

With efficacious vaccines now available, governments have started mass immunization drives to vaccinate as many people as possible. CNN has reported that 171 countries and nations in the world have administered about 825 million COVID vaccine doses so far. Naturally, not all nations are rolling out vaccines at the same pace, which means some countries will lead to nationwide immunity against COVID sooner than others, such as Gibraltar, Israel, UK,  UAE and of course, the United States, where the vaccines have been created. 

As per Our World Data COVID vaccine tracker, Israel is currently the country with the highest percentage, 61.68% of their population have been fully vaccinated. Data shows that countries with a lower population are immunizing their people more swiftly than those with a higher population and understandably so. This means despite vaccinating millions of people in a day, states such as the USA and the UK remain among the top countries but are not at the very top of the list of nations with the highest vaccination rate. 

To understand the difference in vaccination stats between the US, UK, and the rest of the world, here is a deeper look into the vaccination program of the two countries. 

The United States of America 

Two bottles of vaccine and a syringe over a black background
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

America has reportedly administered 122.3 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccines and 75.3 million second shots so far, mostly from Pfizer and Moderna. Johnson & Johnson vaccine was ordered for distribution to be stopped after some people still became infected with the virus.

At present, the country is rolling out approximately 4 million vaccines a day, surpassing the 2.5 million mark of the preceding months. On Saturday, April 3, the Center for Disease Control reported that the country’s vaccination program had administered 4 million vaccines in the past 24 hours, setting a new record and bringing the weekly average to more than 3 million. 

The COVID data director, Dr. Cyprus Shahpar, recorded his response to the monumental news via a tweet the same day, saying “Wow, a record reporting day!! +4.08M doses reported administered over the total yesterday,” 

President Joe Biden has promised to deliver 200 million vaccines by his 100th day at office- a goal many believe is attainable. Previously, POTUS had pledged to have 100 million vaccines rolled out by his 100th day at the office, but that mark was reached pretty early in the vaccination drive. The 100th-day-100-million-vaccine challenge was deemed not ambitious enough by many of Biden’s critics. It seems that the 200-million-shots promise is better received than the previous one. 

The United States of America is not the only region in the world that’s doing everything to heighten its defenses against the fast-spreading coronavirus; the UK is also working hard to vaccinate as many people as possible to attain some degree of pre-pandemic normalcy. 

The United Kingdom

According to a BBC report, close to 32 million people have been vaccinated so far as part of the largest immunization program the kingdom ever conducted. 

The government has planned to give inoculation shots to 32 million people based on their placement in priority groups by April 15. The vaccination drive that began in mid-February first catered to four priority groups; people aged 70 and over, care home residents, healthcare workers, and people required to shield. Now that said classes of people have received at least the first shot of the vaccine; the government has asked people over the age of 50 to book their vaccination appointments. 

The next phase is supposed to give antiviral shots to people over 40, who make up about 21 million of the total population. That is, once the current round of immunizations is complete, the next will begin in which those aged 40 and above will be vaccinated- approximately 21 million adults.

Currently, the UK is rolling out 87000 vaccines a day- which is less than the daily inoculations average of March: 500000. The drop in the daily vaccinations is attributed to the 2-shot drive that has now begun in the country. In February and March, the immunization program primarily gave out the first dose of the COVID vaccine. But now, those who have already gotten their first shot have to get their second, which means that the vaccination resources have to be divided, leading to a lowered daily average of vaccine rollout. 

NHS’s stats show that more than 32 million people have gotten at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 7 million have received the second jab as well. 

The current status of daily vaccine administrations in the UK shows that 317,000 people are getting their 2nd vaccine shot daily. 

There have been reports of a dip in the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the country, which created a bit of a stir at first. However, the government authorities are hopeful that despite the drop in supply, the UK is still vaccinating a significant number of adults every day. And even with the current rate of inoculations, the NHS is positive that it will be able to give out the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone over the age of 50 by the end of April and all adults by the end of July. 

The vaccination process is supposed to pick up pace over the coming weeks as Moderna is said to join the other serums, particularly in Wales and Scotland. Reports say that those under 30 will be given Moderna or Pfizer. As for AstraZeneca, there are reports of people developing blood clots, so UK’s health minister, Hon Matt Hancock, believes that Moderna and Pfizer together have enough resources to vaccinate the 8.5 million adults in the kingdom. 

The UK’s progress in dispensing vaccines throughout the country has been remarkable, making it one of those states that have the highest vaccination rates globally. 

Ending Note

With J&J and AstraZeneca fairly out of the picture and just Mordana and Pzifer becoming the only major distributors of the vaccine, how soon the entire world will be coronavirus-free is hard to predict, but the end to this dreadful pandemic seems in sight now. Let’s hope we don’t face any more hiccups in our battle against the coronavirus.