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Update on COVID vaccination by countries

CROSSROADS TOWARD PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROGRESS - Gerardo P. Sicat (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2021 - 12:00am

It is timely to review how the detailed COVID vaccination efforts is going on in the world.

The data I use is based on the comprehensive daily compilations reported in the New York Times website on the day I received my second shot of the Sinovac vaccine in Quezon City.

Update as of May 14. Countries in the world have vaccinated 1.34 billion doses of vaccines. So far, 17 out of 100 persons have been vaccinated.

However, 83 percent of all vaccinations administered in the world are concentrated in the rich and middle-income countries. The world’s very poor countries have received the rest.

Less wealthy countries have availed of vaccine supplies through the COVAX Facility, a cooperative program facilitated by WHO and other cooperator institutions.

Countries in North America leads with 53 percent rates of vaccinations administered with respect to the population; Europe follows, with 35 percent; Latin America, 15 percent; and Asia (the most populous continent), only 15 percent.

Of all the countries, China has delivered the highest vaccination of its people with 342 million doses., with the United States following with 263 million doses. With a much larger population, China has vaccinated 25 per 100 persons compared to the US, 79 per 100 persons.

A small tropical island paradise off the coast of western Africa on the Indian Ocean – like our own Bohol island Seychelles has become the most vaccinated country. Obtaining most of its vaccines from China, it has vaccinated close to 70 percent of the population.

ASEAN and other Asian. We focus on ASEAN and other Asian neighbors, including our data.

All of ASEAN and most countries in Asia have a low level of vaccination administered. The exception is Singapore, which leads ASEAN countries having vaccinated 32 percent of the population.

Among ASEAN countries, Indonesia, the region’s most populous, has undertaken the highest number of vaccinations, but vaccinated only five percent of the population.

The Philippines is the other country that has administered the most number of vaccinations, but the vaccination covers only two percent of the population. Malaysia and Thailand, each with smaller populations, have vaccinated slightly more people on the basis of their population size.

In Asia, relative success in containing COVID cases does not appear to be strictly related to the vaccination effort so far.

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Even though ASEAN, as a region, is below the Asian average for overall vaccination by countries, some of the countries, like Thailand and Vietnam have avoided serious spread of COVID in 2020. The same was true for South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

All were considered some of the early success stories in terms of containing COVID. In all these countries, effective early mitigation measures were taken that included contact tracing and wearing of masks and was supported by measures in public health.

In all countries lately, there has been a surge in infections that are suspected to come from new COVID variants that has alarmed national authorities.

In Tokyo, there is a group worried enough to suggest the cancellation of the already planned holding of the Summer Olympics. The games, however, are still planned to go on.

From Taiwan, new cases are rising. National authorities seem to take this as a challenge, learning from their past experience. Taiwan’s premier is quoted as saying, “When the pandemic began, they had 1.88 million masks per day, but they now have a daily capacity of 40 million masks and that there are 800 million masks in the warehouses.”

China and India. The two most populous countries in the world, each with a population of 1.4 billion people by 2020, or 2.8 billion together, make up 18 percent of the world’s total population.

China has administered twice as much vaccination doses compared to India. As a producer of vaccines, India has also vaccinated the most doses among all countries – the third highest in terms of doses, having reached 10 percent of its population.

In India, however, a virulent and highly transmissible virus has caused the acceleration of cases and has overwhelmed the weak health delivery system. The death toll in India from COVID has recently risen. India’s death toll is the second highest in the world, surpassing Brazil’s in the Latin American continent and next only to the highest toll incurred, the United States.

Vaccination and decline of cases. The control of the COVID pandemic appears to be in decline as vaccinations in the world continues to expand. But the spike of the virus and of deaths from the virus – as exemplified in the case of India – reminds us that the conquest of the pandemic is a challenge.

No man is an island. No country is an island. The pandemic travels with people who move around. This is a cautionary tale of the world’s interdependence.

Vaccines may not immunize totally and those vaccinated could catch infection, but they are protected from getting seriously ill. Other mitigating public health measures are needed to contain the virus from spreading.

 

 

For archives of previous Crossroads essays, go to: https://www.philstar.com/authors/1336383/gerardo-p-sicat. Visit this site for more information, feedback and commentary: http://econ.upd.edu.ph/gpsicat/

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