An illustration of Covid-19 vaccine vials.

  • On Friday, South Africa reached 20 million administered doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Somewhat over a quarter of the adult population is fully vaccinated for the coronavirus.
  • Globally, more than 6.6 billion doses have now been administered, and the proportion of the world population fully vaccinated is fast approaching 40%.
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On Friday, South Africa breached 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered, with another 154,000 people added to the tally of those fully vaccinated.

That makes for some 35% of the adult population at least partially vaccinated.

Ignore younger people, both less at risk of severe Covid-19 and seemingly less worried about being vaccinated, and the numbers shoot up fast. In the 60+ age group, more than 60% of people have been vaccinated. Among those between 50 and 60 years old, more than 50% have been vaccinated. Between the ages of 35 and 49, the proportion is more than 40% – for women. Among men of that age, the proportion drops to a little over 35%. But young adults, those up to 34, drag the average down, with only 23% of women and less than 17% of men in that bracket having been vaccinated.

South Africa also has 10.7 million people considered fully vaccinated – under the current regime, where a single dose of J&J counts.

On Friday the United States moved towards treating J&J as a two-dose vaccine, on the back of data showing its efficacy shoots up after a booster dose. In South Africa, some 4.6 million people have received a single dose of the J&J vaccine. If the definition of fully vaccinated were to change to exclude them until they receive another dose, it would set things back by roughly a month, at the current rate of vaccination.

Things also get a bit more complicated next week, when vaccinations for children between 12 and 17 are due to start. That will add around 6.5 million to the roster of those due to receive shots.

At a little under 27% of the adult population fully vaccinated, South Africa is tracking well behind a global average of around 37%.

The world as a whole has now administered more than 6.6 billion doses, and the totals for people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and those considered fully vaccinated, are on track to hit 40% and 50%, respectively, soon.

Around 30 countries have reached or exceeded the herd immunity target South Africa has set for itself, of being two-thirds fully vaccinated, before the end of the year. That includes the rich nations of Europe, and small island states such as the Maldives. But also in that group is countries South Africa may consider closer to being comparable, such as Chile, Uruguay, and Malaysia.

On the continent, Morocco counts more than half its population fully vaccinated, and Tunisia is above a third. Beyond those, and Zimbabwe, which is tracking close to South Africa’s level of vaccination, things go from bad to worse. Many countries are still officially at below 1% fully vaccinated, something that is exceedingly rare elsewhere on the planet outside of disaster zones such as Yemen and Haiti.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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