Coronavirus: New Zealand to begin vaccinating as rollout continues at pace worldwide

In a matter of hours, New Zealand will have administered its first COVID-19 vaccine. But overseas, many countries are months into their campaigns, with millions of people having already received a jab.

According to OurWorldInData (OWID), which compiles information about COVID-19 from official government sources, as of Thursday, more than 188 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. 

However, only 31.57 million people have so far been fully vaccinated against the virus as some vaccines - such as the Pfizer-BioNTech jab that will roll out in New Zealand on Friday - require people to receive two doses.

Israel has fully vaccinated 31.81 percent of its population, followed by the United States with 4.63 percent of its people vaccinated, Denmark (2.98 percent), Serbia (2.67 percent), and Romania (2.63 percent).

In terms of the share of population which has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Israel leads the way, having given a jab to 47.66 percent of its people. It's followed by the United Kingdom with 23.48 percent of its population having received at least one shot, Bahrain (15.14 percent), Chile (12.14 percent), and the United States (12.04 percent).

The United States, however, is in front in terms of the overall number of people jabbed. A total of 40.27 million people there have received a shot, followed by the United Kingdom with 15.94 million, Brazil (5.33 million), Turkey (4.48 million) and Israel (4.13 million).

But not every country's vaccine rollout is the same.

For example, some nations are providing vaccines to only essential workers, elderly groups or those who are clinically vulnerable. According to OWID, Bahrain is the only nation with a universal vaccination programme

Six territories are currently vaccinating all vulnerable groups as well as another select section of the population: The United States Virgin islands, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Saudia Arabia, Zimbabwe and Israel. 

For New Zealand, which is only dealing with six contained community cases of SARS-CoV-2, the priority will be on vaccinating border workers who may come into contact with the virus at sites like Auckland Airport or in managed isolation facilities.

On Friday, the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine will be administered to the vaccinators, those people whose job it will be to give frontline workers the jab over the coming months. From Saturday, border workers and their families will start getting the shot. 

So far, Medsafe has only approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the first doses of which arrived in New Zealand this week. The Government has, however, reached agreements with other manufacturers to acquire their vaccines in the future.