More than 15 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine. A piece of extraordinary news that must be celebrated... with some important caveat.

First published in February 2021.

More than 𝟭𝟱𝗠 people (💉 𝟭𝟱,𝟬𝟲𝟮,𝟭𝟴𝟵) in the UK – all those in the top four priority groups – have now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine. Extraordinary news that must be celebrated.

But as Prime Minister Boris Johnson praises what he calls in a video he posted on Twitter a “truly national, UK-wide effort”, it is also important to remember that the UK is not the only country in the world that has managed to offer the first dose of vaccines to part of its population, contrary to the narrative of some Conservative politicians in the media, this Sunday.

Dominic Raab on the Andrew Marr Show. | Flickr-Number 10

Indeed, the current ranking of first-dose vaccinations places the UK fourth behind the United States, China and the European Union, but before India and Israel.

  1. USA (💉 𝟱𝟬.𝟲𝗠)
  2. China (💉 𝟰𝟬.𝟱𝗠)
  3. EU (💉 𝟮𝟭𝗠)
  4. UK (💉 𝟭𝟱𝗠) ⬅️
  5. India (💉 𝟴.𝟮𝗠)
  6. Israel (💉𝟲.𝟮𝗠)
Source: Official data collated by Our World in Data - Last updated 14 February.

This extraordinary result achieved thanks to the NHS should not, however, overshadow the fact that the UK is trailing behind many other countries when it comes to having offered the second dose of vaccines – since it was the UK Government’s policy to have a 12-week gap between the two doses, with a shy 𝟱𝟯𝟳,𝟳𝟭𝟱 people in the UK who have now completed their full 𝗧𝗪𝗢 vaccinations.

  1. USA (💉 𝟭𝟯𝗠)
  2. EU (💉 𝟲.𝟴𝗠)
  3. Israel (💉 𝟮.𝟰𝗠)
  4. Russia (💉 𝟭.𝟳𝗠)
  5. Germany (💉 𝟭.𝟯𝗠)
  6. Italy (💉 𝟭.𝟮𝗠)
  7. Spain (💉 𝟭𝗠)
  8. Poland (💉 𝟬.𝟲𝗠)
  9. France (💉 𝟬.𝟲𝗠)
  10. UK (💉 𝟬.𝟱𝗠) ⬅️
Source: Official data collated by Our World in Data - Last updated 14 February.

The difference between the two figures (first and second doses) is even more striking when you look at Dr Joe Pajak’s vaccination chart this Sunday.

Whilst nearly 30% of UK adults have now received the first dose, only 1% of them has been fully vaccinated so far.

One of the conditions for Israel to reopen shops, gyms, cultural and sporting events alike is that at least three million residents have received their completed course of Covid-19 vaccination. So far, they have reached 2.4 million full vacinations.

Sky News’ Technology correspondent, Rowland Manthorpe, wrote last week that in the UK, “reaching those milestones would take much longer, because the government’s one dose strategy has delayed the number of people being given full protection from the vaccine.

“If the UK applied the same reopening criteria as Israel, then non-essential shops would have to wait until late May to reopen, while cafes and restaurants would be closed until June.

“If the UK opened based on coverage of single doses alone, then it would be possible to lift restrictions in March, but there is very little data to help scientists see whether that would be sensible. Politically – and morally – it would a big risk.”

The question really is, does Boris Johnson care more about morals or politics? 

Johnson pretending to be a scientist... again. | Flickr-Number 10

J.N. PAQUET, Editor of PMP Magazine.


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[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 14 February 2021. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Flickr/Number 10. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)

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