Here is what you need to know about the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines against the variant first identified in India.
So far at least 2.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide with 40 million shots given every day, according to Our World in Data, a non-profit online scientific publication based at the University of Oxford.
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic last year, world leaders and health experts have called for fair and equitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines. But for many nations, that has not been the case.
Low-income countries left behind
Of the global doses administered, most still remain among wealthier nations. North America makes up about five percent of the world’s population but accounts for 16 percent of those who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. Europeans make up 17 percent of global vaccine recipients despite comprising around 10 percent of the world’s population.
Only 1.7 percent of vaccines (45 million) have been given in Africa, despite the continent making up 17 percent (1.3 billion) of the world’s population.
Global vaccine rates
About 1.7 billion people, or 22 percent of the world’s population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A total of 783 million people, or 10 percent of the globe, are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Within North America, the continent currently with the highest vaccination rate – two out of every five people (41 percent) have received at least one dose. One-third of people are fully vaccinated there.
In Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccine rates, one out of every 40 people (2.5 percent) has received at least one jab, with only one out of every 100 people fully vaccinated.
According to the WHO’s senior adviser Dr Bruce Aylward, the COVAX initiative – which aims to provide global access to COVID-19 vaccines – has delivered 90 million doses to 131 countries. However, this was nowhere near enough to protect populations from a virus still spreading around the world, he said.
Aylward added, “well over half of countries have run out of stock and are calling for additional vaccines”.
Most African countries received their vaccines under the COVAX initiative, which were largely sourced from the Serum Institute of India.
However, following a brutal second wave in India, vaccine exports were halted. Manufacturers have since faced issues with ramping up production in a short amount of time.