The marathon of covid-19 vaccination

The marathon of covid-19 vaccination

Even as governments sprint to get inoculate programmes going, they need to keep an eye on what comes next

It has been described as a race between infections and injections. If so, infections are still winning. About 5m new cases of covid-19 a week are being recorded around the world. As we went to press, some 51 countries had begun to administer vaccines, according to Our World in Data, a website; over the previous week 17m people had been vaccinated, but the global total of doses was still below 50m. Only five countries had given the first dose to more than 5% of its population.

The inoculation effort is generating frustration in countries like France, which got off to a slow start, and rejoicing in Britain, which has so far done well (see article). Both the despair and the joy are premature. Plenty will happen in the months before most countries create enough immunity to suppress the spread of the virus. In the interim, much will depend on how successfully their governments manage lockdowns.