Enough vaccines have now been administered to fully vaccinate about 5 per cent of the global population but the distribution has been lopsided. Most vaccines are going to the wealthiest countries.
As of Thursday, 40 per cent of the Covid-19 vaccines administered globally have gone to people in 27 wealthy nations that represent 11 per cent of the global population.
Countries making up the least-wealthy 11 per cent have gotten just 1.6 per cent of Covid-19 vaccines administered so far, according to an analysis of data collected by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
In other words, countries with the highest incomes are vaccinating 25 times faster than those with the lowest.
Bloomberg’s database of Covid-19 vaccinations has tracked more than 726 million doses administered in 154 countries. As part of our effort to assess vaccine access around the world, the tracker has a new interactive tool measuring countries by wealth, population and access to vaccines.
The US, for example, has 24 per cent of the world’s vaccinations but just 4.3 per cent of the population, while Pakistan has 0.1 per cent of the vaccine coverage for 2.7 per cent of the global population. The pattern is repeated across the globe and follows efforts by wealthy countries to pre-purchase billions of doses of vaccines, enough to cover their populations several times over, according to a separate analysis of vaccine deals.
The US is on track to cover 75 per cent of its residents in the next three months.
Meanwhile, nearly half of countries still haven’t reached 1 per cent of their populations. The disparity calculations don’t include more than 40 countries, mostly among the world’s poorest, that don’t yet have public vaccination data. Those uncharted countries represent almost 8 per cent of the global population.
In the US, the federal government determines where vaccines are sent. So far, each state has been allocated vaccines based on its population size. While there are differences in access from neighborhood to neighborhood, each state has a fair share roughly proportional to its number of residents.
There’s no mechanism to ensure equitable distribution worldwide. If all of the world’s vaccines were distributed based on population, the US would have administered nearly six times its fair share.
The UK would have used up seven times its population-weighted allotment (outpacing the EU’s double-share). Topping the list are the UAE and Israel, with nine and 12 times their population-based share, respectively.
China has vaccinated its people at a rate that’s roughly in line with the global average administering 20 per cent of the world’s vaccinations for 18 per cent of the global population. It has also exported vaccines to less wealthy countries, sometimes at no cost.
The world’s least wealthy continent, Africa, is also the least vaccinated. Of its 54 countries, only three have inoculated more than 1 per cent of their populations. More than 20 countries aren’t even on the board yet.