Vaccination countdown to 80%
By Bill Emmott, co-director, GCPPP, November 16th 2021
Worldwide, vaccination programmes continue to make progress, but 10% of daily doses are now accounted for by boosters, in advanced countries and in China. At current rates 80% of the population will have had two doses in Asia and Europe by March 2022, in South America by end-December 2021, in North America by May 2022 but in Africa only by August 2025.
Our clock indicates how long the world as a whole, but more crucially each of the six regions, will take to reach full immunisation of 80% of its population, at the current seven-day rolling average rate of daily dosing. As such, it is not a prediction but a projection of what current policies stand to achieve if they are maintained, and thus hopefully can be a spur on policy-makers to improve upon those policies especially for Africa.
Initially, we used a benchmark of 80% of adults rather than the whole population, and we followed scientists in terming this goal as “herd immunity”. Now, as new variants continue to emerge, bringing heightened concerns that future mutations may affect children more severely than COVID-19 did in its first two years, we have decided to use the tougher benchmark of 80% of the whole population. At this stage, the right assumption for policy planners is that this is a “perpetual pandemic”, one that will last an unknown number of years and will keep on providing new challenges. That is especially so given that full, truly global immunisation remains more than three years away.
The basic arithmetic is simple. World population is an estimated 7.9 billion, so 80% of that is 6.32 billion. Assuming two-dose regimens, the total requirement of vaccine doses is 12.64 billion. Booster shots are beginning to complicate these sums, however: according to Our World In Data boosters now account for roughly 10% of doses administered worldwide each day (see chart below for where they are being administered; roughly one-third so far of the world total have been administered in China). So we will try to make a rough and ready adjustment to take account of these.
As of November 15th, according to Our World In Data a total of 7.54 billion vaccine doses had been administered, worldwide, of which 169 million have been boosters. Thus the cumulative total of the two-dose regimen is 7.37 billion. Subtracting that from 12.64 billion gives us the target required of a further 5.27 billion. Our World In Data reports that the latest seven-day rolling average of daily vaccinations worldwide is 31.5 million, which if 10% are boosters makes a daily rate of 28.35 million for the two-dose regimen. If that daily rate could be maintained, the world would nevertheless achieve protection of 80% of the population in 186 days (against 260 on October 11th).
This is far sooner than most people realise. But some significant policy interventions will be required if it is to be achieved or, even better, improved upon. Moreover, it comes with one big caveat: that the pace of vaccination is highly unequal. At current rates it will take 1,383 days to reach 80% of the population in Africa, getting the continent to that target on April 30th 2025.
Our new map with regional countdowns shows this stark disparity.
We will shortly be starting a newsletter to inform friends and supporters of the Global Commission’s progress and to provide updates when new content is published. Please sign up here: