The US, UK and Israel are all far behind in the global vaccination race – US now sits 39th – .

The US, UK and Israel are all far behind in the global vaccination race – US now sits 39th – .

    Les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni et Israël ont été parmi les premiers à déployer les vaccins COVID-19.  Aujourd'hui, les taux de vaccination dans une douzaine d'autres pays les ont dépassés.
    <p>Cela fait près de neuf mois jour pour jour depuis que les premiers vaccins COVID-19 des États-Unis sont entrés en armes.

During the winter, the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom had the highest vaccination rates in the world. But all three have all fallen behind in the global vaccination race since then.

The graph from Our World In Data, below, shows the 13 countries with the highest rates of fully vaccinated residents in the world, excluding China and Malta due to incomplete data. The United States, Israel and the United Kingdom are added for comparison, but they are not in the top 16.

Instead, the U.S. vaccination rate currently ranks 39th in the world, according to data collected by The New York Times. Israel and the United Kingdom rank 29th and 17th respectively.

A graph showing the percentage of the population that has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in 16 countries. The red arrow points to the United States.
Our world in data

Only 55% of Americans were fully vaccinated on Tuesday, although in terms of the total number of vaccines given, the United States was second in the world, after China. As of Tuesday, the United States had distributed 387 million doses of the vaccine.

Vaccination rates in the UK and Israel are both around 65%, according to Our World In Data.

In contrast, Portugal, the United Arab Emirates and Iceland – the top three places – have rates above 79%.

The pace of vaccinations has leveled off in the US, UK and Israel

A volunteer distributes immunization information at a pop-up center in Halifax, England, July 31, 2021.
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

After the Food and Drug Administration cleared the injections of Pfizer and Moderna in December, the United States got a head start in the global vaccination race. Israel, which bought 15 million doses from Pfizer within three months of the vaccine being made available, also rapidly vaccinated its population between December and March. And AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed in the UK, was approved for emergency use there on December 30.

By mid-March, when the US, UK and Israel were leading in vaccinations, they had 3%, 13% and 52% of their populations fully vaccinated, respectively.

But three months later, Israel’s vaccination rate had only reached 59%. The US and UK had vaccinated around 45% of their populations – a big jump – by June 20, but by that time Chile and Aruba each had vaccination rates above 50%.

Over the next three months, vaccination rates in Israel, the UK and the US increased slightly, but at least a dozen countries – including Uruguay, Spain and Denmark – have exceeded all three.

Vaccination hesitation slows uptake in the United States

anti-vaccine event
Vaccine protesters hold placards outside the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, June 26, 2021.
MARK FELIX/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Vaccine reluctance in the United States plays a disproportionate role in hindering adoption. About a quarter of Americans do not want to be vaccinated or do not know if they will, according to a recent survey by Morning Consult.

Reluctance to vaccinate in the UK is around half of it, but a lack of participation among residents under 30 is a problem – only 50% of the UK population eligible in this age bracket age is fully vaccinated.

Israel faces a similar roadblock: Last month, more than one million eligible Israelis between the ages of 12 and 20 had not even received a single dose, according to NPR.

Meanwhile, all three have relatively high case rates – the US, UK and Israel have 290, 319 and 544 cases per 100,000 people, respectively, according to Reuters data.

Masked woman wearing purple shirt gets vaccinated by man in gown wearing mask in front of Israeli flag
A woman receives a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the Israeli town of Ramat HaSharon on July 30, 2021.
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

Compare that to countries that are further along in the vaccination race. Portugal and Iceland, for example, each have 58 cases per 100,000 population, nearly a tenth of Israel’s case rate.

At the start of the month, the United States ranked second in vaccine hesitancy out of 15 high-income countries, behind only Russia. The percentage of Americans who do not want to be vaccinated has slowly declined over the past six months, but vaccine reluctance has declined about twice as quickly, on average, in the other 14 countries included in the survey Morning Consult.


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