VICTORIA, 3 May 2021 – An African country, Seychelles, and Israel, in the Middle East, lead the world in the race to herd immunity against COVID-19.
Nearly every Seychellois – 99.9 percent of the country’s 127,000 adult population – has received the first dose of their vaccines.
Israel – with a population of 10.5 million inhabitants – is the world leader in providing both vaccine doses to the highest proportion of their adult population.
Some 91.3 percent of all adult Israelis have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The rate for access to a second jab in the Jewish state outpaces Seychelles, where 86.3 percent of its adults have received both doses of the vaccine administered to combat SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
According to the COVID-19 tracker, Mongolia is vaccinating the country vaccinating the fastest globally, administering vaccine doses to 23.1 percent of its adult population in the course of just last week alone.
Over Three Million Killed by the New Coronavirus
COVID-19 has upended the lives of billions of people worldwide, sadly leading to 3.1 million fatalities as of Friday, 30 April 2021.
The exact death toll will never be known because of gaps in reporting. The only thing certain is that the COVID-19 death toll is more likely than not much higher than 3.1 million deaths.
Seychelles has also recorded the lowest number of deaths per 100,000 people anywhere in Africa, at 28.5 per 100,000 people.
Maldives has suffered the lowest death rate of any country in the world, at 13.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
The highest number of deaths per 100,000 people have been in Croatia with 173.7 deaths per 100,000 people; followed by Andora with 162.5 deaths per 100,000 people, and France with 159.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
A total of 68 percent of all deaths from COVID so far have been in three regions: Europe, North America, and South America.
Seychelles is the Exception
Seychelles is the exception on a continent where the vaccination rate remains at a snail pace, with several countries yet to launch mass vaccination campaigns.
Two African countries – Burundi and Tanzania – have not even ordered a single vaccine dose. Officially, both countries maintain that they have no plan to import vaccines.
The two are among 23 countries worldwide that have not yet started vaccinating against COVID-19.
Even as Burundi accelerates mass vaccination against polio, its president, Evariste Ndayishumiye, has said Gitega will not import COVID-19 vaccines.
While there are signals that the new president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, is changing course on the COVID-19 denialism of her predecessor, her country has not reported a single case of COVID since May 2020 because public health officials are not still directed to test for the virus and share the information with the rest of the world.
One hundred and seventy-two (172) countries have launched mass vaccinations around the globe.
As of last Friday, some 1.13 billion doses of the vaccines had been administered worldwide, according to data from the COVID-19 global tracker, which is updated around the clock with the latest figures.
Only 15.7 percent of the world’s adult population have received at least one dose of the vaccines, with 83 percent of all doses administered so far having been in the world’s wealthiest nations – high and middle-income countries.
Twelve countries worldwide have administered a first dose to more than half of their adults.
Africa Needs $12 Billion to Defeat the Virus
Sub-Saharan Africa has administered the lowest number of jabs of all regions, with only 7.26 million doses administered covering a mere 1.4 percent of the population.
A huge part of Africa’s problem, besides lack of political will, is strained health facilities and lack of funding.
The World Bank estimates that Africa needs about $12 billion to buy and distribute enough coronavirus vaccines to interrupt transmission of the virus.
Sub-Sub-Saharan Africa is going to experience its first recession in 25 years mostly as a result of the negative impact of the virus on economic and financial activities.
The World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has invested almost $1.1 billion in Africa through the fast-track COVID-19 facility to shore up the trade and liquidity needs of Africa’s private sector.
“The private sector is front and center in the distribution of vaccines; not only as a provider of health infrastructure but also as a provider of health services,” says IFC Managing Director, Makhtar Diop.
The IFC has spoken up forcefully in support of the private sector helping to do three key things: first, speed up vaccine research and production. Second, put in place the right logistics to ensure the effective distribution of vaccines. And, third, encourage investment in local pharmaceutical companies.
Africa’s lagging behind contrasts sharply with North America, which has administered the highest number of vaccine doses so far.
Some 275 million people, accounting for 47.2 percent of North America’s adult population have been vaccinated.
The European Union has administered 148 million jabs, covering 30.4 percent of its adult population with at least one dose. The rest of Europe is third-ranked with 104 million doses administered.
South America – in fifth position – has administered 76.5 million jabs while North Africa and the Middle East have administered 48.3 million jabs as of last Friday.
Countries of Central Asia and Central America regions have vaccinated 5.82 million doses and 5.4 million jabs respectively.
Vaccine Hoarding Still a Big Problem
Countries have ordered 14 billion doses of the vaccines to be delivered in 2021, according to data published by Airfinity, a life-science data company, cited Sunday by The Economist newspaper.
The doses ordered so far would be enough to provide 2.7 doses for every adult in the world – a total of 5.2 billion people.
On Monday, the American drug firm Moderna pledged half a billion doses of its vaccine to Covax over this year and next.
Vaccine hoarding is fencing poor countries out of supply.
Canada, alone, has secured enough vaccines to administer 13 doses for each of its inhabitants.
The global vaccine sharing initiative, COVAX, says it expects to distribute 1.7 billion doses in 2021 to the world’s poorest countries, with a majority of the doses ordered via COVAX coming from Oxford-AstraZeneca.
The manufacturer has promised to deliver 2.6 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 to at least 112 countries worldwide.
The twelve vaccines authorized for emergency use by health regulators worldwide are expected to produce a total of 8.2 billion doses in 2021.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it needs between $35 billion to $45 billion to fund vaccines for low-income countries under COVAX.
WHO’s Ethiopian-born Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has also called for vaccine patent rules to be waived, allowing the life-saving vaccines to be produced more widely in countries with low vaccination rates.
Rich countries, notably the United States, have refused to back a proposal tabled by India and South Africa before the World Trade Organization to bypass patent and other rights in order to mass-produce the vaccines.