News Coronavirus Top COVID vaccine rollouts: What Australia could learn from these five countries

Top COVID vaccine rollouts: What Australia could learn from these five countries

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Last year Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised Australians our nation would be at the “front of the queue” in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Now, the federal government finds itself scrambling to secure supply of vaccines, relying on the help of the military to boost the rollout.

After backing down on its initial October 31 deadline, there is increasing public pressure on the government to answer the question – when will we all get the jab?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this month defended his government’s record.

“It is true that at this stage of our rollout, it is actually better than where Germany was, better than where New Zealand was, better than where South Korea and Japan was, and so I think there will be some important context in the weeks ahead as we see the significant ramp-up of the distribution network,” Mr Morrison claimed said.

But the reality is Australia is far from front of the queue.

We currently rank 106th, with 1.4 million doses in arms.

Figures from the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project show the top five countries to have the largest amount of people fully vaccinated are Israel, Bahrain, Chile, the US, and Serbia.

This is what they did to get there:


Population: 9 million

Total doses given: 10.3 million

Fully vaccinated: 54.8 per cent

Israel has become the Usain Bolt of the vaccine rollout, outpacing every other country.

Early on, the nation struck a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech that was negotiated personally by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a corruption scandal and has made it a priority to roll the vaccine out quickly.

The lightning-fast pace is also partly to do with the fact the country has a digitalised and efficient healthcare system and incentives such as the “green pass” app which allows fully vaccinated people to enjoy more activities.


Population: 1.6 milion

Total doses given: 1 milion

Fully vaccinated: 27.2 per cent

Bahrain was the second country in the world to approved the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and the Gulf country then secured a large amount of supply by approving China’s Sinopharm vaccine in December.

Bahrain has a well-funded health care system and 27 mass vaccination centres have been erected to inoculate up to 10,000 people each day.

Like Israel, the country has invested in campaigns to reassure the public that the vaccine is safe and effective.


Population: 18 million

Total doses given: 12.7 million

Fully vaccinated: 27 per cent

Again, Chile was given a head start on its rollout by striking agreements early on with pharmaceutical companies.

By the beginning of 2021, the South American country had hit one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Despite this, Chile is in the grips of a huge outbreak. Intensive care units are overwhelmed and the country has closed its international border. Nearly 25,000 people had died of the disease.

So what went wrong?

Critics have accused the government of opening up too quickly around Christmas when people were allowed to travel to see families.

The country has been grappling with new strains of the virus and it is also reliant on Sinovac, the other Chinese vaccine that may not be as efficient as Pfizer.

United States

Population: 330 million

Total doses given: 196.5 million

Fully vaccinated: 23.9 per cent

On Friday, the White House announced the US had administered 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and President Joe Biden has hailed the country’s rollout as making “incredible progress”.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

In December, there were questions over whether the government was up to the task.

The distribution of the vaccine has been uneven, and the country has grappled with fresh outbreaks as new variants of the virus emerge.

Early on, the US pursued vaccine procurement through President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, a massive public-private partnership, and the government purchased more jabs than it will need to inoculate everyone.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vaccines for many European countries and the rollout has been spurred along by mass vaccination centres in stadiums.


Population: 6.9 million

Total doses given: 3 million

Fully vaccinated: 17.5 per cent

As its European neighbours squabble over the short supply of vaccines, Serbia is basking in the glow of a huge rollout.

Serbia’s success has been put down to the fact it’s offered its citizens a smorgasbord of five different vaccines to choose from.

Belgrade’s warm relations with Beijing and Moscow helped secure the country more than 11 million doses of vaccines early on, and as a result of the huge stockpiles the country has become the best vaccinator in Europe.

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