Thursday, February 25, 2021

Pandemic could rage for 7 years if worldwide jab rates don’t speed up, research shows

Only a third of countries have so far kicked off their own vaccine campaigns.

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It’ll be a wearying seven years before the pandemic is over worldwide, if vaccine distribution and inoculation continues at current rates, calculations from Bloomberg show.

The media outlet, which said it built the biggest database of “Covid-19 inoculations given across the globe”, crunched the numbers and found it could take most of a decade to reach herd immunity if distribution doesn’t accelerate for two-dose vaccines.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said 70-85% of populations will need the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity and while the US is on track to reach that goal by New Year 2022, it could take countries like Canada 10 years at their current sluggish pace.

More than 119 million doses have been distributed worldwide but Bloomberg’s tracker shows some countries, mostly rich and Western, are reaching 75% coverage much faster than others.

For example, Israel is on track to see 75% coverage by spring but it could take Portugal four years, China seven years and Latvia almost nine years to reach herd immunity if vaccine distribution numbers don’t pick up speed.

The calculations are, of course, “volatile,” Bloomberg explained, especially with rollouts just a few months old and still marred with supply disruptions.

Canada’s vaccination rate was cut in half recently after the country faced delays in shipments but as long as their contracts to buy more doses per person than any other country moves forward, they shouldn’t be stuck in the pandemic wilderness for a decade.

Bloomberg noted the pace is expected to accelerate worldwide as more and more jabs become available, and more countries bring their home-grown shots to the fray.

They pointed to major vaccine-manufacturing hubs in India and Mexico and said production is just getting started.

Bloomberg notes that only a third of countries have so far kicked off their own vaccine campaigns and worldwide herd immunity can only be achieved if all governments get cracking.

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