New York, February 11
Even after more than a year of Covid vaccine drives, just over half the world’s population has been fully vaccinated, media reported.
According to Our World in Data, nearly 54 per cent of the world’s population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Washington Post reported.
Nearly 62 per cent have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
However, the figures show a stark global divide. The data shows that less than 11 per cent of people have received at least one dose against Covid in low-income countries.
That number jumps to about 55 per cent for lower-middle-income countries and nearly 80 per cent for both upper-middle-income and high-income nations, the data showed.
Public health experts, including the World Health Organization, have been warning that vaccine inequity is prolonging the pandemic.
The US, countries of the European Union and others were criticized for buying up most of the early global supply of coronavirus vaccines, the report said.
Covax, a UN-backed global vaccine-sharing initiative, was created in April 2020 to ensure vaccine access to countries that cannot afford The initiative struggled in the beginning as rich countries stockpiled them. In January, this year, Covax shipped its billionth dose in mid-January, and according to the WHO, African countries were sent twice as many vaccine doses in January as six months ago.
However, about 100 million Covid-19 vaccines, offered to third world nations were near expiry which the countries were forced to dump, according to the UN’s children’s fund Unicef.
“More than 9.4 billion vaccine doses have now been administered globally. But 90 countries did not reach the target of vaccinating 40 per cent of their populations by the end of last year, and 36 of those countries have not yet vaccinated 10 per cent of their populations,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Ghebreyesus said that more than 85 per cent of the population of Africa – about one billion people – is yet to receive a single dose of vaccine.
“We cannot end the acute phase of the pandemic unless we work together to close these gaps,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the WHO has also said that Africa is on track to end the pandemic.
But, “continued vigilance is key” to dealing with outbreaks and monitoring the possible emergence of new variants, it said.
“Although Africa still lags behind on vaccination, with only 11 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated, we now have a steady supply of doses flowing in,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.
Now, she said, efforts should be focused on “scaling-up Covid-19 vaccine uptake” in African countries, as well as increasing the capacity for testing and surveillance of coronavirus variants.