A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, the global effort to develop and distribute an effective vaccine has already produced several promising options.
The accelerated development of multiple vaccines is unprecedented: The process typically takes eight to 15 years.
Now, the immunisation of a critical mass of the world’s population – which is crucial to get the pandemic under control – is up against a new set of challenges, including dangerous new strains of the virus, global competition over a limited supply of doses, and public hesitation about the vaccines.
Several vaccines have been approved for general or emergency use in countries including Bahrain, China, Russia, the UK, and the US. As of this month, more than 131.5 million doses have been administered worldwide. Several countries – such as Bahrain, the UK and the UAE – are making swift progress immunising their citizens, while the vast majority have either vaccinated only small fractions of their populations or are yet to get the vaccine.
The current data of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine shows that the US is at the top with more than 42.42m people vaccinated followed by China which has vaccinated more than 31m people, the UK (12.8m) and India (around 6.2m).
Bahrain is doing a marvellous job and it has vaccinated more than 201,116 people in a short period; the UAE has vaccinated around 4.41m people.
Another important data is to know how many people have been fully vaccinated after receiving both doses of the vaccine. America is again leading the world with 9.52m people, while in Italy, Germany and the UK, the number of people who have received both doses of the vaccine are 1.1m, 903,271 and 515,581, respectively.
The share of the total population that have received all doses prescribed by the vaccination protocol indicates Bahrain has vaccinated more than 11pc of the population which is a key step towards herd immunity. Countries like the UAE, the US, Denmark, Italy and Spain have vaccinated around 1pc to 3pc of their population.
To understand this data in another way, we can look at the data of the total number of vaccination doses administered per 100 people in the total population. According to the registered data, the UK has vaccinated 11.82 per 100 people, while India has vaccinated only 0.45 per 100 people. This shows that countries need to speed up the process of vaccination as we need almost 70pc of the population to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity to eliminate the virus.
To guage the resistance to vaccines, a study tried to find out who would get vaccinated if a Covid-19 jab was available to them this week.
The survey showed that 71.3pc of the population in the UK would take the vaccine, while in Bahrain, this acceptance rate was around 65pc. The lowest rate was in France where only 29.8pc people said they would take the vaccine.
The data underscores the need for a combined global effort to eliminate the pandemic.
Dr Zahid is assistant professor in virology, Department of Biology, College of Science at the University of Bahrain. He can be reached on [email protected]