World passes three billion Covid-19 vaccine mark

Globally, the vaccination drive is still hugely unequal even if most poor countries have started to vaccinate their people.
Globally, the vaccination drive is still hugely unequal even if most poor countries have started to vaccinate their people.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - More than three billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been given across the world, according to an AFP tally on Tuesday (June 29) from official sources.

The pace of vaccination has quickened. While it took 20 weeks to give the first billion, it took only four to give the last one thousand million.

About four of 10 jabs have been given in China (1.2 billion), with India (329 million) and the United States (324 million) also in the top three.

But it is a trio of Middle Eastern countries leading the way in terms of coverage (when excluding countries with less than one million people), with the United Arab Emirates having given 153 doses per 100 people, ahead of Bahrain and Israel on 124.

The three have nearly fully vaccinated 60 per cent of their inhabitants.

Following them are Chile (118 doses per 100 people), the United Kingdom (113), Mongolia (111), Uruguay (110), Hungary (107), Qatar (107) and the US (98).

These countries have fully vaccinated around half of their populations (between 46 and 54 per cent).

The European Union has given 357 millions shots to half of its population, with about 32 per cent fully covered.

Its smallest member Malta has completely covered seven out of 10 of its people, while its biggest countries - Germany, France, Italy and Spain - are hovering around a third fully vaccinated.

But globally the vaccination drive is still hugely unequal even if most poor countries have started to vaccinate thanks to the Covax sharing scheme run by the World Health Organisation, the Gavi alliance and the Cepi coalition.

While the world's poorest countries have been able to give only one dose per 100 people, the richest have given one per 79 people.

And five countries have yet to start their campaigns - Tanzania, Burundi, Eritrea, Haiti and North Korea.

Despite the controversies surrounding it, the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is still the most used in the world, given in eight of 10 countries.

Then comes the Pfizer-BioNTech jab (used in 102 or 47 per cent of countries that have started vaccinating), with Sinopharm and Moderna used in at least 48 countries, Russia's Sputnik V (at least 41), Johnson & Johnson (31) and Sinovac in 24.