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Corona vaccinations worldwide: This is how vaccination campaigns work in other countries


In Germany lamentations can be heard about postponed dates - in Tanzania they rely on medicinal herbs. And in Indonesia young people come first: How are the vaccination campaigns going in Asia, Africa and Latin America?

Icon: enlarge

In India, vaccinations started on January 16th.

This woman was the first to get her shot at Rajawadi Hospital in Mumbai


Satish Bate / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

When a country gets the corona crisis under control, when dying can be stopped and life can return, depends above all on when it can vaccinate its population against Covid-19.

But the global distribution of vaccines is extremely uneven.

Where a shipment ends up is often decided based on who pays the most, not who needs the vaccines most urgently.

There has long been talk of "vaccination-nationalistic action".

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) used clear words to describe the current situation: "The world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"The price for this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the poorest countries in the world."

"The world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure"

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday

While more than 39 million vaccine doses have currently been administered in at least 49 richer countries, there have only been 25 vaccinations against Covid-19 in one of the poorest countries.

“Not 25 million, not 25,000;

only 25 vaccinations, ”stressed Tedros.

It is not fair that many countries are pushing each other and bypassing the Covax initiative, which was founded so that poor countries can also receive vaccine.

Where and when do vaccination doses arrive in the world - do they even arrive?

And what's next?

An overview from Asia, Africa and Latin America.


The continent has so far been a big blank spot on the vaccination map: only the small island state of Seychelles has started vaccinating its medical staff; in Guinea, some high-ranking politicians have been given the Russian vaccination.

However, most countries have not yet received any of the vaccines.

Many states have announced vaccination campaigns, but there are more questions than answers.

»All vaccination doses announced are so far only reservations and do not yet exist.

It is completely uncertain when it will start nationwide on the continent, «says the Kenyan health expert Githinji Gitahi


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Medical staff care for the sick in the parking lot of a hospital in Pretoria, South Africa.

Many clinics have reached their limits in the pandemic.


One of the richest countries on the continent,

South Africa

, is suffering from its comparative prosperity: It has to pay into the Covax initiative instead of receiving vaccination doses free of charge like its poorer neighbors.

The country with just under 60 million inhabitants has secured 12 million cans through Covax, according to its own information.

Another 12 million are expected to arrive via a joint order from the African Union.

It is not clear when the first deliveries will come.

But South Africa has already announced that despite the current economic crisis, taxes could be increased to finance the vaccines.




almost 40 percent of the population under 15 years old - there is currently no approved vaccine for them.

In any case, herd immunity is only achieved if children can also be vaccinated.

Nevertheless, Kenya has an ambitious plan and is expecting the first deliveries in February.

It primarily relies on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not require freezing.

A total of 47 million vaccine doses from various manufacturers have been promised so far, the Kenyan Ministry of Health announced.

In other words: Even if all cans are delivered, that's not even enough for half of the population.


is going its own way and has so far at least officially shown no ambition to start a vaccination campaign.

Instead, medicinal herbs are being tested, the Tanzanian government announced in December.

Because the country has been officially Covid-free since spring - even if only a few really believe this claim. 

Like several North African countries,

Egypt is

currently relying primarily on the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm.

According to media reports, the first 50,000 cans are already in the country, and more could follow soon.

Residents are expected to register online for the upcoming vaccinations, which the government says will begin the vaccination campaign on February 1.

Egypt could thus become one of the first countries in Africa to vaccinate at least part of the population.

Latin America

Latin America is considered the continent with the greatest inequality - and it lives up to its reputation when it comes to corona vaccinations.

While the more powerful states of the region like Chile or Mexico quickly ordered millions of doses through bilateral agreements with pharmaceutical companies and have been vaccinating them for weeks, the poorest states like Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras are dependent on the supranational distribution mechanism "Covax" - and have to wait.

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This couple will be vaccinated against Corona with the Sinovac vaccine in their hometown in northern Brazil in mid-January



, which is economically


in regional comparison, is a special case 

The vaccinations started there on January 18th.

The country is particularly hard hit by the pandemic, according to official information, more than 210,000 people have already died of Covid disease. 

Problems with the vaccination campaign are mainly due to political power struggles and incompetence.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who railed against vaccination and claims that it could turn yourself into a crocodile, is said to have refused to order the vaccine from Pfizer / Biontech in the summer and instead relied on the Indian-made vaccine from AstraZeneca.

When the deal to export the vaccine from India suddenly fell through in mid-January, the calls for his resignation grew louder.

Now there is less vaccination than planned, with the Chinese vaccine Coronavac, which is produced in the state of São Paulo in cooperation with the butantane research institute.

Bolsonaro also blasphemed about this product - mainly because his political competitor, Governor João Doria, rules the production site. 


 has also been very hard hit by the pandemic.

In addition, the country slid into a severe economic crisis due to a particularly tough lockdown.

More than 40 percent of Argentines now live below the poverty line. 

The Wall Street Journal described the country as a “test laboratory” for the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

In fact, Sputnik V - the vaccine has not yet been authorized by the WHO - has been in use in Argentina since December 29, 2020, and by the end of February 10 million of the approximately 45 million inhabitants should be vaccinated.

Mexico has done little to contain the pandemic, for example by restricting contacts or the freedom of movement of the population.

Again, vaccination is the last resort to bring the pandemic under control.

With up to 20,000 infections per day, the country is in one of the most difficult phases of the pandemic.

Mexico's government did not fail to order in time from Biontech / Pfizer (34.4 million cans) and AstraZeneca (77.4 million cans).

But for the time being there are probably not enough deliveries from Biontech / Pfizer, among other things because the United Nations is pushing to supply economically weaker countries as soon as possible.

Now there is concern in Mexico that the second doses that make the Pfizer vaccine really effective cannot be given on time.

Like many Latin American countries, the country is now turning to China and Russia in order to get more vaccine doses faster, so the government is relying on Sputnik V and Coronavac.


In Asia, it is the countries with the efficient vaccine production facilities that have already started large-scale vaccination campaigns: China and India.

Most of the countries in the region have to be patient.

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand or Vietnam, for example.

This also applies to the industrialized state of Japan.

There, the corona emergency was extended until February, vaccine approvals started slowly.

The first vaccinations could be given at the end of February.

China had already started vaccinating selected people in the summer of 2020 - via emergency approvals.

At the end of 2020, the official green light for Sinopharm's vaccine was given and the campaign started.

Who and when it is your turn in China depends on which of the three groups you belong to: First those who are exposed to a particularly high risk of infection, then the elderly and people with previous illnesses, then the rest of the population.

According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, a million people received the first vaccination in Beijing alone in early January.

"No country in history has ever carried out a vaccination campaign of this magnitude"

Indian President Narendra Modi in a televised address

India is the country with the most corona cases worldwide after the USA.

The vaccinations started there in mid-January, they are free;

the government claims to have vaccinated 300 million people by the summer.

A logistical mega-task for the 1.4 billion inhabitant country.

The Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, plays an important role in this.

The company from the city of Pune produces the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the international pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

A fire broke out in the factory on Thursday - but according to the Indian television station NDTV, it is unlikely that the fire will affect the production of the corona vaccine.

Part of the vaccine is intended for export to developing countries - South America, Asia and Africa.

However, the institute's CEO made it clear that his company will initially focus on manufacturing for India before sending the vaccines to other countries.

Icon: enlarge

In Indonesia, President Widodo was the first to be vaccinated in the country - to create trust in the Chinese vaccine

Photo: Agus Suparto / imago images / Xinhua




President Joko Widodo was the first to have a vaccination pressed into his upper arm in mid-January.

It was the Chinese vaccine Coronavac - and a sign to the population that this vaccine was safe.

The fourth most populous country in the world is one of the first to use the Chinese vaccine on a large scale outside of China.

Indonesia's vaccination strategy is interesting: First, the working population should be vaccinated, 18 to 59 year olds, and only later on at risk groups and the elderly.

The country hopes that this will help to revive the economy, which suffered badly in the pandemic.

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