Global Covid Shots Reach 2 Billion in Race to Tame Pandemic
(Bloomberg) -- Inoculations against Covid-19 reached 2 billion as the world races to control the pandemic.
It took just over six months to reach the milestone, an extraordinary accomplishment precipitated by countries’ desperation to save lives and reopen their economies. Still, at the current pace, it will take nine more months to vaccinate 75% of the global population, a threshold that could provide so-called herd immunity.
The virus has stricken almost 172 million people and killed close to 3.7 million since the first cases emerged about 18 months ago. Lockdowns, social distancing and restrictions on movement have slammed the global economy.
The rollout has also been uneven, mainly benefiting the developed world while lower-income countries have struggled to source shots. The wealthiest 27 countries have administered about 29% of vaccinations globally but have only 10% of the world’s population. The U.S. and U.K. led the way with vaccinations early, China has given the most doses and European Union members have been catching up after a slow start, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.
China now accounts for about two-thirds of the roughly 36 million shots given daily. The EU is administering the second-highest number, with about 3.6 million doses daily, followed by India with 2.6 million. Major nations that still lag behind include India, Indonesia, Japan and Russia, as well as much of Africa.
In the U.S., 89.4 doses have been administered for every 100 people. That compares with an average of 1 dose per 100 people in sub-Saharan Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, regional director for Africa at the World Health Organization, said in a briefing Thursday. The global average is 23 doses per 100 people.
Japan led a drive this week to attract donations to fund the WHO-backed Covax initiative, which is purchasing vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries. Almost 40 donor nations, companies and charities -- including Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Spain, Switzerland and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- promised a total of $2.4 billion in additional financial contributions and to provide millions of inoculations.
Although 2 billion doses would be equivalent to more than a quarter of the world’s population, the proportion immunized is well below that level because most of the vaccines in use require two shots to be fully effective, and some people have received only one.
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