More than a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide, according to a tally, more than half of which in just three countries.
At least 1,002,938,540 doses had been administered in 207 countries and territories on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. GMT, less than five months after the start of the roll-out of the first mass inoculation programs, the AFP news agency said, citing figures from official sources.
The milestone was reached as a daily record of more than 893,000 cases of coronavirus infections was recorded worldwide on Saturday, mainly due to a alarming surge virus in India.
Fifty-eight percent of vaccine doses were administered in three countries: the United States with 225.6 million doses; China with 216.1 million doses; and India with 138.4 million.
However, in terms of the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, Israel leads the way, with nearly six in ten Israelis fully vaccinated.
Next is the United Arab Emirates, where more than 51% of the population has received at least one blow; the UK with 49 percent; the United States with 42 percent; Chile, with 41 percent; Bahrain, with 38 percent; and Uruguay, with 32 percent.
In the European Union, 128 million doses have been administered to 21% of the population. Malta leads the way in the 27-nation bloc, with 47 percent of its population vaccinated, followed by Hungary with 37 percent.
But in Germany, only 22.6 percent of the population has been vaccinated; 22.3 percent in Spain; 20.5% in France; and 19.9 percent in Italy.
Worldwide, the number of vaccines administered doubled in less than a month as vaccination campaigns accelerated.
While the majority of poor countries have also started to immunize, mainly through the COVAX program, immunization is still largely a privilege of high-income countries, as defined by the World Bank, which are home to 16 percent of the world’s population but administered 47 percent of vaccine doses.
Low-income countries account for just 0.2% of doses administered, the United Nations said earlier this month.
Some 12 countries have yet to start vaccinating – seven in Africa (Tanzania, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Chad, Burundi, Central African Republic and Eritrea; three in Oceania (Vanuatu, Samoa and Kiribati; one in Asia (North Korea) and one in the Caribbean (Haiti).
“There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva on April 9.
“On average in high-income countries, almost one in four people have received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it’s one in more than 500. I repeat: one in four to one in 500. ”
More than 100 countries have called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive patents for COVID-19 vaccines, saying they cannot vaccinate their populations. Some countries and activists have called the disparity in access “vaccine apartheid” and urged the WTO to remove provisions in a trade agreement governing intellectual property rights so that medical products can be more readily available to consumers. poorest countries.
Despite the issues that have plagued it since its approval, the jab developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is the most widely used to date and has been administered in three-quarters or 156 of those countries and territories that started to be vaccinated.
A jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been administered in 91 countries, or 44% of the total.
Another shot developed by Moderna was administered in 46 countries, or 22%.
Sinopharm’s jab has been administered in at least 41 countries or 20% of the total, Sputnik V in at least 32 countries or 15%, and Sinovac in at least 21 or 10%.