With a vaccination target of 70% needed to prevent the further spread of the virus, we need to vaccinate just under 5.5bn people. So far, only 727m (9% of the global population) have been fully vaccinated, mostly in China (223m), North America (169m) and Europe (158m).
Only relatively small numbers have been fully vaccinated in India (47m), the rest of Asia (73m), South America & Oceania (46m) and Africa (11m). A further 884m (11%) have been partly vaccinated, comprising China (399m), India (156m), Europe (111m), rest of Asia (73m), North America (67m), South America & Oceania (59m) and Africa (19m).
This leaves 3,847m people (49%) yet to be vaccinated, with 1,128m in Asia excluding China and India, 909m in Africa, 763m in India, 386m in China, 255m in Europe, 227m in South America and 179m in North America.
At the current run rate of around 33m vaccinations a day and assuming two doses are needed for each person, it should in theory take around 260 days or just under nine months to deliver the 8.5bn remaining doses needed. With some vaccinations requiring only one dose and expanded manufacturing capacity, the potential is that the world could be vaccinated even sooner than that.
In practice, it will not be so easy. The current level of vaccinations is being driven by China, which is vaccinating around 16m of its population a day at the moment, and whether many countries in the rest of Asia and Africa can get up to proportionately similar levels is not certain. Many countries will struggle to afford the vaccines they need and the 1bn doses just announced by the G7 will only go so far. Logistically, there are some big challenges in getting vaccines into arms in many parts of the world.
That is why some are saying that it will take until the end of 2022 to fully vaccinate the 70% of people needed to protect against the virus. Let’s hope that they are just being cautious, and the momentum can be maintained to get the world vaccinated even sooner than that.
Source: Our World in Data COVID-19 dataset extracted on 15 June 2021 – Mathieu, E., Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E. et al. A global database of COVID-19 vaccinations. Nat Hum Behav (2021).
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