Britain has dished out 10% of all world's Covid vaccines, data shows

Britain has dished out 10% of all Covid vaccines in the world but critics say UK’s lockdown-ending drive still needs to speed up because it has ‘hit a wall’ – as Tony Blair claims global race to buy up jabs is ‘unfair’

  • Department of Health figures suggest the drive has stopped accelerating after it rose one per cent in a week 
  • Drive is yet to be expanded to the over-65s with only a few areas thought to be giving jabs to this age group
  • Critics have today urged ministers to roll up their sleeves and extend the operation to other areas 

Britain has dished out 10 per cent of the entire world’s coronavirus vaccines, shocking figures show — but critics have warned against complacency as data suggests the national rollout has ‘hit a wall’. 

Despite its small population on the global standings, the UK has administered a whopping 13.2million out of 146million doses given out internationally. 

According to the statistics compiled by the Oxford University-based research platform Our World in Data, it puts Britain in third place behind only the US and China, which have far larger populations. 

The figures also show Britain has vaccinated more people with a dose of either the Oxford University of Pfizer vaccine than France, Germany, Italy and Spain put together.

Despite widespread criticism for the Government’s pandemic response as a whole, Britain has been one step ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to the rollout of vaccines. 

Number 10 spent more than £6billion developing and procuring Covid jabs — a fraction of the £200-plus billion spent on supporting businesses during the economically-crippling lockdowns — despite no guarantees any would work. 

The Vaccines Taskforce, run by venture capitalist Kate Bingham, played a key role in secure huge numbers of doses of vaccines ahead of international competition. And running the Covid vaccine programme through the NHS, which runs national flu vaccinations every year, has smoothed over the rollout.

But critics have warned against getting too complacent as latest figures from the Department of Health suggest the Covid drive has plateaued. The number of doses given to Britons on Monday rose by just one per cent compared to the same time last week, hovering at around 350,000. 

The top 30 countries where the highest number of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered, with the UK in third place. The data was from Our World in Data, which monitors the vaccines rollout across the world

And this is the number of doses administered as a percentage of the population covered. Experts have said to achieve ‘herd immunity’, where the virus stops spreading’, around 85 per cent need to be vaccinated. The data is from Our World in Data

URSULA VON DER LEYEN ISSUES GROVELLING APOLOGY OVER EU’S VACCINE SHAMBLES 

Ursula von der Leyen today issued a grovelling apology for the EU’s vaccine shambles, admitting the bloc acted ‘late’ and was ‘over-confident’.

The European commission president also conceded its rollout was still not ‘where we want to be’ in a humbling speech in Brussels.

However, she defended trying to thrash out at unified approach for the 27 member states, even though she has likened it to a ‘tanker’ compared to the UK’s ‘speedboat’.

UK government figures last night showed 12,646,486 people have now received initial jabs, with another 516,392 having had their booster.

By contrast the EU as a whole has administered fewer than 18million doses to its population of around 450million people.

Globally there are around 4.6million jabs being given every day, with around one in 10 of those happening in the UK.

Speaking at an EU Parliament plenary session, Ms von der Leyen said: ‘We are still not where we want to be. We were late to authorise.

‘We were too optimistic when it came to massive production and perhaps we were too confident that, what we ordered, would actually be delivered on time.’

The Government has called for all over-70s who have not yet received their first dose to get in touch with the NHS immediately, in a sign ministers believe they are well on track to meet Boris Johnson’s promise of vaccinating all the country’s most vulnerable by mid-February.

But the drive has yet to be expanded to over-65s with just two areas – Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire – reportedly offering the shots to this age group, indicating vaccination chiefs aren’t putting their foot on the accelerator to reach those outside the top four groups. 

Critics have today urged ministers to roll up their sleeves and open up the operation to other age groups, warning the clock is ticking as there are only six weeks left before second doses will have to be administered.

They added there was ‘no excuse’ for complacency, and that the scheme simply could not be allowed to stop for weekends and snow days because ‘the virus doesn’t sleep – the virus keeps spreading’.

Britain’s medicines regulator made a world-leading move when it said a gap of 12 weeks could be left between doses to maximise the number of people protected in the shortest time possible, a decision that won it praise from the World Health Organization. 

It comes after European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen today admitted the bumbling bloc had been ‘too slow and over-confident’ when securing vaccines, after Brussels threatened Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca and demanded it re-route UK-bound jabs to make up for shortfalls in European supplies.

Author of a the study Worth a Shot: Accelerating Covid-19 Vaccinations, and fellow at think-tank the Adam Smith Institute, today urged ministers not to be complacent because of early success.

‘While the Government has made significant progress since January in boosting the amount of daily doses we can’t be complacent,’ he told MailOnline. 

‘We need to keep up the pace, keep accelerating and ultimately should be aiming to even double or triple the number of doses that we are doing compared with today.

‘There is ultimately no excuse for slowing down. We can’t use the excuse of weekends and weather because ultimately the virus doesn’t stop for weekends, the virus doesn’t sleep – the virus keeps spreading so we do need to accelerate.’

He added that ministers must make the most of the time before second doses need to be delivered, which will mean vaccinators can reach fewer Britons with first doses every day.

‘The intent behind doing the first dose is to get the maximum coverage of vulnerable groups and that is something we are supportive of – at the same time they should be extending to a wider audience,’ he said.

‘The worry we have got is without the number of doses increasing on a daily basis you are going to see a slowdown in the number of new doses being given out or first doses being given out as we catch up on second doses.

‘For every person we give a second dose to we can’t give another first dose out. We do have a worry that if they don’t increase the capacity to distribute doses then we are going to see a slowdown either in the number of people who get their second dose or in the people who get a first dose – neither of which is ideal.’

Department of Health figures show the vaccination drive ramped up by at least 25 per cent every week over the first three weeks it was opened – as nurses and volunteers rushed to get Britain moving again.

But it ticked up by just one per cent on February 8, the latest day data is available, when 356,291 doses were administered compared to 352,935 on Monday last week.

The vast majority of England’s local authorities are still only offering jabs to the top four priority groups – the over-70s, the vulnerable, care home residents and NHS frontline staff – despite sources suggesting they are now very close to getting the first dose to everyone in this age group.

Reports suggests over-65s in Manchester and Nottinghamshire are the only ones currently receiving letters asking them to book Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said last week that the priority remained to reach the top four priority groups first. But they added they would not ‘stand in the way’ of areas looking to expand their rollout to other age groups before the deadline of mid-February. 

Britain has so far dished out 35x more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine than Germany, which is leading the jabs drive in the EU, according to figures collated by Our World in Data which monitors the pace of vaccinations in countries worldwide.

Germany has managed 337,000 doses so far, followed by Italy’s sluggish rollout at 270,000, France’s hampered drive at 222,000 and Spain hovering at 217,000.

The figures also reveal a sharp disparity between the drive in different continents, with the whole of Africa having given out 17,600 doses so far.

Tony Blair, the executive chairman of the Institute for Global Change, today called on countries around the world to co-ordinate their vaccine strategy saying they have an ‘opportunity to learn the lessons from the early vaccine rollout’.

‘The speed with which Covid-19 vaccines were developed and are being rolled out has been an inspiration,’ he said. ‘In just six weeks, the world has already administered 134 million shots, with a current rolling average of over 4.5 million doses per day. But the unequal distribution of those vaccines is both unfair and unsustainable.

Ursula von der Leyen today issued a grovelling apology for the EU’s vaccine shambles, admitting the bloc acted ‘late’ and was ‘over-confident’

‘The main challenge has been the lack of any global strategy to co-ordinate and maximise production, and then ensure their swift and equitable distribution to every country in the world.

‘Given the potential for vaccine resistant strains to develop in any part of the word and then spread globally, the whole world is in peril if we allow this situation to persist.

‘As more vaccines achieve regulatory approval and new vaccines to deal with new variants arrive, the world must be prepared. Closed borders are not sustainable in the medium or long term.

‘We need to create a globally co-ordinated vaccine strategy now, bringing together representatives from science, medicine, the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing, financiers, distribution and logistics to consider how to accelerate vaccine production and oversee allocation and procurement processes with governments.’

It comes after Ms von der Leyen today issued a grovelling apology for the EU’s vaccine shambles, admitting the bloc acted ‘late’ and was ‘over-confident’.

The European commission president also conceded its rollout was still not ‘where we want to be’ in a humbling speech in Brussels.

However, she defended trying to thrash out at unified approach for the 27 member states, even though she has likened it to a ‘tanker’ compared to the UK’s ‘speedboat’. 

Globally there are around 4.6million jabs being given every day, with around one in 10 of those happening in the UK.

Speaking at an EU Parliament plenary session, Ms von der Leyen said: ‘We are still not where we want to be. We were late to authorise.

‘We were too optimistic when it came to massive production and perhaps we were too confident that, what we ordered, would actually be delivered on time.’

This map reveals which areas were harder hit by the second wave of the pandemic than the first. 54 per cent of all areas suffered a more severe impact in the second wave than the first

Ms von der Leyen also said she was sorry for the confusion over the threat to suspend the Northern Ireland protocol in order to block vaccine exports – which was humiliatingly dropped.

‘The bottom line is that mistakes were made in the process leading up to the decision,’ Ms von der Leyen said.

‘And I deeply regret that. But in the end we got it right.’

Ms von der Leyen said she still believes that 70 per cent of the EU’s adult population can be vaccinated by the end of summer, swiping at pharmaceutical companies for not keeping pace with scientific advances.

‘Industry has to match the groundbreaking pace of science,’ Ms von der Leyen said.

‘We fully understand that difficulties will arise in the mass production of vaccines.

‘But Europe has invested billions of euros in capacities in advance, and we urged the member states to plan the vaccine rollout. So now we all need predictability.’

Despite the chaos, the three groups of MEPs stuck with Ms von der Leyen’s approach of member states moving together.

‘The key decisions were right,’ Manfred Weber, leader of the Christian Democrat European People’s Party, said.

The Socialists and Democrats party leader Iratxe Garcia said: ‘Fiasco, catastrophe, disaster: they ring very true to our citizens.’

But she added that her party would stick with Ms von der Leyen on the bloc moving together.

‘Criticism is necessary but with a constructive spirit,’ she said.

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