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COVID-19 vaccination is approaching its first year: half of the world’s population received at least one dose

A total of 8.1 billion doses have been administered worldwide. AstraZeneca and Pfizer preparations are the most widely used.

As a race against time to try to control the coronavirus pandemic, on December 8, 2020, was the launch of the vaccination against COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, marking the beginning of a global campaign of historic magnitude, but questioned by inequality. that it has proved to have over time.

The road has not been easy. It started with the tension between the UK and the European Union over delays in the delivery of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine. He continued with the controversy about the side effects of this immunizer.

One year later, half of the world’s population received at least one dose of the vaccine. But while rich countries already inject booster doses, the poorest have protected very small percentages of their population.

This strident inequality is one of the main black points of this campaign, also dotted with controversies about side effects, although they are rare, and by protests against the obligation to vaccinate in some countries. An issue that is gaining strength in some countries, at a time when regions like Europe are being shaken by a new wave of infections.

The British were the first to launch a massive campaign, although countries such as Russia or China had already begun to vaccinate on a limited basis.

The UK mainly used the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, one of the twenty currently in circulation, all of which were developed in record time since the virus was first detected in China at the end of 2019.

Subsequently, many developed countries began to vaccinate that same month, mostly with the messenger RNA vaccine from the Pfizer / BioNTech laboratory: the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates on December 14, Saudi Arabia on December 17, Israel on 19 and the European Union, on 27.

Half of the world’s population, 55%, have received at least one dose, that is equivalent to more than 4.3 billion people. And the complete pattern is recorded globally, 44%, that is, 3.4 billion people, according to a balance of AFP from official data.

In total, 8.1 billion doses have been administered worldwide. In addition to AstraZeneca and Pfizer, the other most widely used vaccines are those developed by the Americans Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac, and the Russian Sputnik V.

However, although at least since June 2021, almost all the countries of the world have been inoculating, the rate is very slow in most poor countries and in other cases it is interrupted by lack of doses.

The Covax mechanism, promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equal access to vaccines, delivered its first shipment in late February in Ghana.

But rivaling countries willing to pay high prices for their supply, Covax has delivered no more than 591 million doses to 144 countries or territories, far from the 2 billion target for 2021.

Currently, in low-income countries (as classified by the World Bank), only 9 doses were administered per 100 inhabitants. The global average is 104 per 100 inhabitants and in high-income countries it is 149 per 100.

Africa is the least protected continent, with 18 doses per 100 inhabitants. Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the least vaccinated countries, with 0.007% and 0.06% of the population respectively.

And there are still two countries that have not started inoculation: Eritrea and North Korea.

Meanwhile, among the 50 most vaccinated countries, 39 have high intakes, with the United Arab Emirates leading the way, with more than 89% of the population immunized.

Behind are Portugal (87%), Singapore (86%), Qatar (85%), Chile and Malta (84%), Cuba (81%), South Korea and Cambodia (80%), Spain and Seychelles (79 %) and Malaysia (78%).

Parojically, although they started with a very good vaccination rate thanks to privileged supplies, a year later countries such as the United Kingdom (68%), Israel (67%) or the United States (60%) are not among the most advanced.

These same high-income countries, like all nations in Europe, North America and the Gulf, also feature at the top of the 80 states that have started booster doses.

Also, most give doses to adolescents (12-17 years) and, some like the United States, Canada, Israel, Cuba, Emirates, Cambodia or Venezuela, to children as young as five or six years old.

Parallel to vaccination, research is increasing to standardize anticovid treatments, but, as with vaccines, countries with fewer resources are at the bottom of the line. (I)

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