Global vaccine programmes: How do they compare?
While the UK was one of the first nations to begin the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines, it has fallen behind in the race for full inoculation. So, how do global vaccination programmes compare?
Leading the world’s vaccination success is Portugal, with 82.82 per cent of its population having received both doses as of the last week, according to Our World in Data (OWD).
The source of its success is said to lie with Rear Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, a Navy officer who has been responsible for the country’s vaccination programme since February.
Gouveia e Melo stepped into the position when a political appointee resigned after just three months and has since been the figurehead for the rollout, appearing on television to answer public concerns.
The officer prioritised large sports halls for makeshift vaccine clinics instead of relying on smaller public health centres to administer the jabs and stepped away from Portugal’s annual flu jab strategy which formed the basis of its initial efforts.
The clinics would use a production-line-style system to be more efficient in administration of the jabs, a method which Gouveia e Melo tested on soldiers in the Lisbon Military Hospital.
Alongside the efficiency of the rollout, Gouveia e Melo’s strategy was pushed along by the country having a relatively high uptake with other vaccines – with some 95 per cent of Portugal’s population being vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella.
With little anti-vaccination movement, unlike in the UK, the US and some areas of Eastern Europe, the success has reportedly pushed other countries – which he refused to name – to approach Gouveia e Melo asking how he achieved the accomplishment.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has vaccinated more than 85 per cent of its population, meaning it has the second most successful vaccination uptake in the world.
The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee gave the green light to mandatory periodic testing for all employees in order for them to enter their workplace in May – with workers having to bear the brunt of the cost.
While unvaccinated workers were required to get tested weekly, with those with both vaccinations had to test themselves for the virus monthly to be allowed to enter their workplace.
The move likely prompted the public to seek the vaccine in a bid to avoid regular testing costs while working.
The UAE also made use of a government-issued app known as Alhosn, which could notify users that they had been in contact with a confirmed case of the virus.
Chile leads Latin America with its vaccination programme, having inoculated 74.81 per cent of the population so far.
The country already had a sturdy vaccination system to rely on when the pandemic first emerged, which has lent itself to its recent success.
The public health infrastructure, such as electronic records, which Chile had in place long before Covid-19, meant that the vaccines could be rolled out faster.
Chile’s Ministry of Health issued a calendar that outlined who is eligible for a vaccine on a specific day, meaning that individuals did not have to make appointments – and there appeared to be a strong level of coordination between the health system and local authorities, according to reports.
In addition to Chile’s favourable vaccine culture, the country’s national immunisation registry helped track when people received their jabs, and when they are due their second.
The country focussed on trying to meet people where they were – which prompted universities and stadiums to set up temporary vaccination sites.
Vaccines were easily accessible to the population after the country sought a number of deals from across the UK, China, the US and the COVAX scheme, and the uptake was strong, with far fewer people being able to work from home than in comparison with Europe.
The risk of livelihoods and businesses suffering as a result of falling sick or losing staff would have accelerated the uptake – particularly when many reportedly still work without proper employment contracts.
Chile officials had also set a goal to have 80 per cent of the country fully vaccinated by the first half of the year, a concise target for both health workers and the public to strive for – even if it has fallen short of this ambition.
While Canada’s vaccine programme appeared sluggish to start, as the UK and Israel charged ahead earlier this year, the country has scaled the rankings – having fully vaccinated over 73 per cent of its population.
The country spread out the vaccine delivery across provinces, with each having their own inoculation capacity, meaning the rollout was less dependent on central government.
Ontario state premier Doug Ford in March said his province had the capacity to administer 150,000 jabs a day, telling reporters in a rollout update at the time “We’re making steady progress,” but that, “We just need more vaccines.”
Doses relied on central government and distribution relied on municipalities, which meant eyes fell to prime minister Justin Trudeu’s procurement process when the rollout appeared sluggish.
Though the emergence of more contagious strains of Covid-19 reportedly increased the pressure on both the central and local governments to vaccinate more quickly.
Trudeu also revealed that the country would be adopting Covid-19 vaccine passports for both domestic and international travel on Thursday, which will likely tip a spike in uptake as the public seek freedom of travel.
Over 66.6 per cent of Brits have been fully vaccinated through the programme so far, as the UK begins to distribute its booster jabs.
The government’s vaccine procurement process was broadly successful and was one of the first to get their hands on the jabs.
Following advice from its independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the government distributed the vaccines to a published list of nine priority groups.
There were government-set targets for both clinics and health officials to work towards, which was benefited by a fairly high take-up.
However, an increase in misinformation on social media and a hesitancy among Black and Asian communities scuppered what was a rapid rollout.
The UK has had a significant anti-vaccine movement which has prompted protests across the country.
While the biggest cause for refusing the vaccine at the beginning of the year was concerns over safety, according to the Office for National Statistics, which the government has not yet managed to quell with public health campaigns.