A vaccination drive that has begun to pick up speed is propelling the United States ahead in the race to immunize its population against COVID-19.
Currently, the U.S. ranks seventh in the world, with 25.7 percent of Americans having received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, the UK is currently fourth in the global campaign with 42.9 percent of its population receiving at least an initial shot.
About one in three U.S. adults have received their first dose in comparison with half all British adults.
But with more doses secured in the U.S. and fewer people needing second shots – as well as supply constraints about to hit the UK – can America pull ahead and get more of its population immunized more quickly?
The U.S. ranks seventh in the world in share of the population receiving at least one dose with 25.7% of Americans having done so and the UK is fourth with 42.9% of its population receiving at least an initial shot
The U.S. is vaccinating an average of 2.5 million people every day while the UK is vaccinating an average of 593,000
After a sluggish beginning to the vaccine rollout, the campaign to immunize the American population is finally picking up speed.
Since President Joe Biden took office, the vaccine allocation to states has tripled from 8.6 million doses per week to 27 million per week as manufacturers have increased supply.
So far, 85.4 million Americans – 25.7 percent of the population – have received at least one dose and 46.3 million – 14 percent – are fully immunized.
In a press conference on Wednesday, White House COVID-19 senior advisor Andy Slavitt said 70 percent of Americans aged 65 and older have received at least one shot in comparison with seven weeks ago when just eight percent had.
Comparatively, the UK has given 42.4 percent of its population one dose and 3.8 are fully vaccinated.
This is because, in an effort to reach as many people as possible, the UK has stretched the amount of time between doses from three or four weeks to 12 weeks.
Public health officials say vaccines offer a high level of immunity one shot, although two are needed for full protection.
However, the U.S. has rejected this approach, with top experts like Dr Anthony Fauci saying that not enough studies have examined giving doses spaced out.
Currently, about 170 million total doses has been delivered – 83 million from Pfizer-BioNTech SE, 80 million from Moderna and 4.6 million from Johnson & Johnson.
Earlier this year, the U.S. government signed deals with both Pfizer and Moderna to each supply 300 million doses by the end of July.
The U.S. is expected to receive 600 million vaccine doses by the end of July, enough to inoculate each adult
Half of the adult population has received at least one dose but, last week, NHS England sent a letter to vaccination sites, warning that Britain would see a ‘significant reduction’ in doses next month due to a cut in supply
With 257 million adults in the U.S., that would enough to vaccinate every adult by mid-summer.
In addition, a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told DailyMail.com earlier this week that the company still expects ‘to deliver 20 million single-shot vaccines by the end of March.’
President Joe Biden has said he believes the country will have enough doses to vaccinate all adults by the end of April
If the U.S. continues to deliver 27 million doses per week for the next two months, 243 million doses would be delivered by May 29., a DailyMail.com analysis finds.
Coupled with the 170 million already delivered, that would be enough doses to vaccinated 206 million people by the end of May with a two-dose regimen.
What’s more, the U.S. is sitting on an estimated 30 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, enough to vaccinate 15 million Americans.
Meanwhile, in the UK, about 28 million people received one dose, 2.8 million have received to doses, and about 593,000 people are being vaccinated every day.
However, last week, NHS England sent a letter to vaccination sites, warning that Britain would see a ‘significant reduction’ in doses next month due to a cut in supply.
The letter warned that volumes for first doses would be ‘significantly constrained’ and that clinicians would be focusing on distributing second doses.
‘The Government’s Vaccines Task Force have now notified us there will be a significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in week commencing 29 March, meaning volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained,’ the letter reads.
‘They now currently predict this will continue for a four-week period, as a result of reductions in national inbound vaccines supply.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock downplayed the news, saying vaccine shipments have always been ‘lumpy’ and that at-risk people would still receive first doses.
But vaccination centers and pharmacies have been ordered to not take any new bookings from March 29 and not to upload new appointments online for the month of April.
An estimated 12 million people are expected to receive their second dose next month, but it is unclear how many people will be given their first dose, a DailyMail.com analysis finds.
It is unclear what is causing the supply issue, with both approved vaccine manufacturers, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, saying there are no issues with their supply chains.