Covid 19: How far The World vaccinated?

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With several countries relaxing Covid 19 restrictions, health experts have raised the question – how far has the world been vaccinated? Well, a new analysis released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), shows that majority of the people in developing nations are yet to get the jab.

In the analysis, the UNDP says that only a tiny proportion of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in developing countries, leading to a widening gap between rich and poor.


The World Health Organization (WHO) in September 2021 set an ambitious global target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the global population by mid 2022. At that time, just over three per cent of people in low-income countries had been vaccinated with at least one dose, compared to 60.18 per cent in high-income countries. Six months on, the world is nowhere near reaching that target.

The UNDP analysis points out to the inequality in vaccine distribution. Of the more than ten billion doses given out worldwide, only one per cent has been administered in low-income countries, it said. This means that 2.8 billion people around the world are still waiting to get their first shot.

Vaccine inequity jeopardizes the safety of everyone, and contributes for growing inequalities between – and within – countries. It not only it risk prolonging the pandemic, but also comes up with many other impacts such a slowing the economic recovery of entire countries, global labour markets, public debt payments, and countries’ ability to invest in other priorities.


The two years of COVID-19 pandemic has led the poorer countries into harder days. They find it harder than ever to recover economically. Their labour markets are suffering, public debt remains stubbornly high and little left in the coffers to invest in other priorities.

The UNDP said that most of the vulnerable countries are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Chad, where less than one percent of the populations are fully vaccinated. Outside of Africa, Haiti and Yemen are still to reach two percent coverage.

The studies show that, if low-income countries had the same vaccination rate as high-income countries in September last year (around 54 per cent) they would have increased their GDP by 16.27 billion dollars in 2021.

The countries calculated to have lost most potential income during the pandemic, due to vaccine inequity, are Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

Whilst the protracted lockdowns put in place worldwide hurt workers everywhere, those in developing countries were, again, disproportionately affected. Richer countries softened the blow by boosting economic support to both formal and informal workers, while in low-income countries, support declined between 2020 and 2021.


If vaccine equity is not dealt with soon, the consequences could be grave. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet had called for greater cooperation between countries to stop the pandemic fast. The chief had mentioned that delayed vaccination could lead to escalated societal tensions and violence, and a lost decade for development.

Urgent access to vaccines and financing – such as the grants and concessions proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – is, according to the analysis, essential for the poorest countries, alongside support that is tailored to the situation faced by each individual nation.

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