The coronavirus pandemic placed the whole world into freeze mode due to the absence of a cure. Many nations were surprised at the surging death tolls, which were moving at an uncontrollable pace. Thousands of people were dying daily, and some states had to resort to mass graves to accommodate all the burials. Various theories were proposed about the origins of the virus.
The popular view was that it was a biochemical weapon created by certain superpowers to wipe out their enemies. Some reports said that it spread after a laboratory accident which means that the ‘manufacturers’ had no desire to annihilate people.
The coronavirus vaccines came a little too late as the pandemic had fed on innocent souls for about a year or so. The United Kingdom was among the most affected areas, with about 128 thousand deaths in all 4 countries [Source]. Due to its proximity to China and regular business trips between Europeans and Asians, Europe recorded a lot of infections estimated at around 178+ million. Reducing these numbers became a top priority, and in December, the United Kingdom (UK) approved the use of vaccines.
The set of approved vaccines includes Pfizer, Moderna, OxfordUniversity, Janssen, and others deemed effective. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had suggested that for a country to be regarded as immune, at least 60% of the population should be fully vaccinated. Thus, most of the population should receive the first and second doses for the plan to work. In this light, the UK is in the right direction as it has been issuing doses of vaccines in all areas. The secretary of Health in the UK, Matt Hancock, expressed joy over the progress in the vaccination programs and highlighted the willingness of their citizens to get vaccinated.
To date, as alluded to by the Secretary in his speech, about 75% of the total population in the UK has been vaccinated, which means that out of the estimated 67 million total population in the UK, nearly 50 million individuals have received their jabs. Indeed, this is a milestone achievement against the pandemic. The establishment of vaccination centers and the employment of frontline workers have been the major obstacles in trying to dish out vaccines to the masses.
Also, given the large number of people who want to get vaccinated, the governments had to pour in many resources to ensure that medical institutions get the boost needed to handle the pressure exerted on them. To mobilize everyone for vaccination programs from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland was a big ask for the government and medical officials. Still, the UK managed to accomplish that goal.
There was resistance towards the vaccines when they first emerged. Because of the controversial origins of the coronavirus, a lot of people thought that the vaccines might be part of a conspiracy plotted by super-power countries against the human race. The internet was buzzing with reports of the risks associated with the doses, and some claimed that it was a scientific move to have control over the human body.
In some countries like Zimbabwe, Australia, South Africa, and India, the government called for only those willing to get vaccinated to come and get the first jabs, so it was voluntary. More and more participants joined the long train, and in the end, countries were running short of the doses. The UK has been successful and did not face a lot of rejection from the people, mainly because the vaccines used were coming from trusted institutions like Oxford University who are scientifically advanced compared to other research facilities across the globe.
The United States of America (US) is another country that has also worked hard to get the population immune. The first batch of vaccines was approved to be used in the US around the same time as the UK. With a population estimated to be 329 million, the US has progressed well with the vaccination program. Medical institutions and vaccination centers have reported that over 41.6% of the total population have been fully vaccinated, and many have received the first jab [Source]. This percentage translates to 137 million heads that are now protected against the virus.
The US seems to be moving a bit faster than the UK in getting the doses out to the people. This might be because it lost a lot of lives due to the pandemic. Deaths recorded in the US since the rule of covid-19 crossed the half a million mark, so it was devastating for the nation [Source].
The US government also decentralized the vaccination centers and medical personnel to ensure that every state had a reliable facility where people could get treated. Also, distributing the doses was because of a large number of frontline workers working alongside the law enforcement departments in mobilizing people and ensuring that movement to help centers was easily accessible.
Traveling restrictions and gatherings limitations utilized in curbing the transmission of the virus proved to be effective, especially in the hot spot of the pandemic outbreak. This strategy reduced the number of infections, and the government was able to renovate and improve health centers to cater to patients in quarantine and isolation.
Secretary Hancock spoke about the rejuvenated coronavirus variant termed the ‘Indian variant.’ This new player has made the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine obsolete and Mr. Hancock, in his recent address, assured the people that they are trying to acquire new doses of vaccines that are effective against this variant.
The Beta variant (B.1.351) was first discovered in South Africa, and it quickly turned into a killing machine. It seems as if the vaccination progress is nullified because of B.1.351. Scientific studies contend that a virus can make certain mutations to itself. These changes can completely differentiate that virus from its previous form, which has happened with the B.1.351 variant. This calls for the improvement of the vaccines which are to be doled out. The UK government wants to secure modified doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines. The US also wants to acquire improved vaccines as a preventive measure against the effects of the B.1.351 variant.