The worldwide vaccination rate was virtually unchanged over the last month while the vaccination rate in the United States continues to fall. As a further bit of disappointing news, today Pfizer and BioNTech announced plans next month to file for emergency use authorization for a COVID vaccine booster to counter the emergence of more contagious and lethal variants and what they claim is a decline over time in their vaccine’s efficacy against symptomatic disease.

World Statistics

According to data collected by Bloomberg, as of July 9, more than 3.33 billion doses have been administered across 180 countries. As of my last report on June 6, just over two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in 176 countries. 

After impressive increases in the first half of 2021 the average daily rate of vaccinations fell from 39 million doses per day at the beginning of June to the current rate of 32 million doses per day worldwide.

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Enough doses have been administered to fully vaccinate 21.7% of the global population. Vaccine distribution, however, has been extremely lopsided. Countries with the highest incomes are vaccinating people at rates that are more than 30 times faster than the vaccination rates in lower income countries. At the current pace, it would take another year to achieve a high level of global immunity.

United States Statistics

In the U.S., 332 million doses have been given so far. In the last week, an average of 604,380 doses per day were administered.

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The U.S. has done extremely well with early vaccine rollouts. Roughly half of the U.S. population has now received at least one dose.

Supply is not an issue in the U.S.. Drugmakers have promised to deliver enough shots to fully vaccinate more than 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of June. That’s enough to cover everyone ages 12 and older—the entire population for which vaccines are currently approved.

Unfortunately, the U.S. vaccination rate continues to fall. Even if the current vaccination rate holds, which seems highly unlikely, it would take another eight months for the U.S. to reach herd immunity. The U.S. seems to be squandering the gigantic headstart it had in vaccine distribution.

My Take

The statistics of the Covid-19 pandemic offer cause for optimism and despair. We can be optimistic about the rate at which the world has been able to develop and manufacture huge quantities of highly effective vaccines.

On the other hand, uneven vaccination distribution, falling vaccination rates in the U.S., potential limited efficacy of some vaccines, and the emergence of more contagious Covid variants with greater lethality could mean Covid precautions will be required for a long time.

Not getting vaccinated makes no sense. With more than 3 billion doses administered, any serious vaccine side effects would have become apparent by now.

The supply of vaccine is large enough in America that every adult who wants to get vaccinated can get vaccinated. Vaccines are nearly 100% effective at preventing serious illness and deaths. That means that every U.S. adult death from here on out is completely preventable. We have a duty to protect our fellow Americans. It is a matter of patriotism, caring and kindness. We have the ability to stamp out the virus that has claimed more than 600,000 American lives in just over one year.

Covid-19 goes about its viral business immune to politics. Covid does what viruses do — it spreads, sickens, kills, and mutates. It can’t be bullied or flattered or negotiated with. So politics must play no role in our response. The world is in a race to defeat the spread of the disease before it mutates into additional strains that are more contagious and more deadly.

So far the biggest effort has gone into developing vaccines. Vaccines, however, may not end the pandemic for reasons previously stated. Therefore, it appears that more effort should be put into testing if life is to go back to a semblance of pre-pandemic normal.

Onerous Covid restrictions are necessary to prevent spread because we don’t know who is infected. When no one knows who is infected, the presumption of the public health authorities must be that everyone is. Because everyone is presumed to be infected, then we all must wear masks, keep apart, and gather only in small groups.

Tests that can identify infected individuals quickly and cheaply might eliminate the need for mask wearing and social distancing in certain settings. Testing might also be able to substitute for vaccine passports in certain situations. Some object to vaccine passports because of the inequalities they create between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Testing could be used for everyone. The experts can workout the details.

Final Thoughts

As the planet becomes more interconnected, the development and spread of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 will become more frequent. The world’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and Covid-19 disease will be an important chapter in world history. Today’s successes and failures will serve as guides for handling future pandemics.

Let’s hope that Pfizer’s belief that booster shot(s) might be necessary for long term protection is just a ploy to sell more vaccine. Currently, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration maintain that boosters are unnecessary. Their position could be confirmed or refuted as more data is produced.

Thanks for taking the time to review the current stats and my thoughts. Do you think vaccines will lead to a return to normalcy? If not, what’s the best strategy to deal with the pandemic?