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As the world begins its vaccination push, delayed rollouts draw criticism and concern

January 11, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 21.4%. 2 min read.

Vaccination efforts are rolling out slower than promised, raising doubts about an imminent way out of the pandemic.

Just weeks after the United Kingdom became the world's first nation to begin vaccinating its citizens with a fully vetted and authorized Covid-19 shot, its government is facing questions over how many doses are available.

A report from Britain's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), of which McKee is a member, urged the UK government to be transparent on supplies, noting evidence that "some of those involved in implementing the vaccine strategy lack confidence in its organisation. " Asked by CNN how many doses had been delivered, UK government officials said they were not able to provide detail about the size of supplies and future deliveries for security reasons.

Some 2 million people have received at least one dose in the UK since the campaign started on December 8, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to ramp up vaccinations to 2 million per week.

McKee said European governments also must be clear about whether delays are down to a shortage of vaccine or an infrastructure issue, saying that it was "simply unbelievable" that countries like France seemed to be floundering.

In his New Year's Eve address, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not tolerate any "unjustified slowness" in the country's vaccination campaign, even as health officials argue the rollout is deliberately cautious to help convince the country's sizable population of vaccine skeptics to get it.

Amid calls for the country to take control over purchases from European Union authorities, Health Minister Jens Spahn said there will be "enough vaccine" and urged patience.

As of Sunday, Canada had managed to administer around 315,000 doses since the campaign started on December 14 -- about half of the vaccine doses that have so far been delivered.

Federal officials in the US, meanwhile, have been struggling to explain why only 6. 7 million people had been vaccinated, when three times that number of doses have been distributed; they had promised 20 million people would have been inoculated by the end of 2020.

Some states have acknowledged on-the-ground issues that delayed vaccinations, but many have said for months they need more federal funding to execute complex rollout plans.

Britain's medicines regulator is allowing second doses of coronavirus vaccines to be delayed by several weeks to inoculate more people (a move also being considered in Germany and the US).

But as countries try to eke out more doses, health experts say the focus should be on securing "the last mile" of the vaccination process -- the steps from when a vaccine is made to when doses are administered to people -- and ensuring no one is left out.

COVAX, a partnership between Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization to promote global access to vaccines, is essential to getting doses to developing countries.

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