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COVID-19 vaccines: 90% of coronavirus jabs have been given in richer countries, says WHO

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By Luke Hurst
A health worker receives the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in Liege, Belgium
A health worker receives the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in Liege, Belgium   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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Nine-in-10 coronavirus vaccinations have so far been in richer countries, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 50 million jabs have now been administered across the world.

But the vast majority of those have been in high-income countries, with North America and Europe leading the way.

While countries like Israel, the UK and the US have now vaccinated 54%, 13% and 9% of their populations respectively (with one dose), the vast majority of nations in Africa haven’t even started their vaccination programmes.

On Monday, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said only two countries classed as lower or lower-middle income had started vaccinating their populations.

She told Sky News it was vital everybody gets their jab as soon as possible, as “this pandemic will continue to burn unless we do it at the same time around the world”.

About the data in these tables

The data is pulled together from official government sources and media reports. There is no central collection of vaccine figures and not all countries publish figures at this early stage.

Israel is leading the way on vaccinating its population, followed by the United Arab Emirates, which has vaccinated some 3 million people, or 33% of its population.

Many countries are relying on the COVAX scheme, which is being led by WHO, the EU and other organisations, and with doses still to be distributed from the scheme many of these countries have no choice but to wait, while others press on with their programmes.

Harris said that the WHO is receiving supplies through the COVAX scheme, and “you will begin to see those rolled out in the next few weeks... we’re expecting to be able to deliver the first ones in the early part of February”.

She reiterated warnings about some countries being left behind in the vaccination process - and how that could drag the pandemic on for much longer, due to the emergence of new strains of COVID-19.

“It's important for the people of every country to understand that their interests lie in getting the whole world vaccinated,” she said.

“This pandemic will continue to burn unless we do it at the same time around the world, really bring those disease levels down. We don't want more variants to develop. We don't want things to get more complicated. So even though it feels like it's not in your interest, it really is in your interest to get those people vaccinated in other countries."