The race to roll out the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccines is officially on.

Over one year since the first case appeared outside Wuhan (where the virus originated), COVID-19 has contributed to the deaths of almost 4 million people worldwide. And as the death rates continue to spike in some areas, news of a vaccine has provided a glimmer of hope for many.

It’s hoped that these vaccines will not only save lives, but help kickstart the economy – specifically, the travel industry, with the help of COVID passports.

So far, according to Our World in Data, more than 3.19 billion doses have been given worldwide – but which countries are leading the way in the vaccination rollout?

A shot of the coronavirus vaccine

A shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is already on its way to saving millions of lives


Countries of all sizes are trying to roll out vaccines as quickly as possible – from Iceland’s small population of just over 300,000, to America’s population of roughly 300 million. We’ve therefore decided to focus our data on the share of people vaccinated in each country, rather than the total number of doses given (using figures collected from Our World in Data).

Each country’s vaccination programme is at different stages, with a handful of countries now rolling out the second course of vaccinations. To outline this, we’ve included the share of both first and second doses on the chart below.

There are currently 18 vaccines that have been approved and released in different countries across the globe, and we’ve taken them all into account.

This data was correct as of 5 July 2021, and will be updated monthly moving forward.

1. UK

Overall population: 66.65 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 49%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 17%
Key suppliers: Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech

The UK vaccination programme reached its first significant milestone as early as February, after everyone in the first four priority groups – those aged 70 and over, care home residents, healthcare workers, and people required to shield – were offered a jab.

Despite the UK’s successful programme, it’s also come under fire from various countries around the world – namely the US – for mixing vaccines. With two different jabs being used and some supplies running short, the NHS has said people can be given a different second dose from their first, if absolutely necessary – a huge no-no in the eyes of some experts.

In response, the New York Times commented that British officials “seem to have abandoned science completely now, and are just trying to guess their way out of a mess.” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said that the authorised COVID-19 vaccines “are not interchangeable”, and that “the safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not been evaluated.”

2. Chile

Overall population: 19.1 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 56%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 10%
Key suppliers: CanSino, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinovac

Despite having only started its vaccination programme in early February, Chile has managed to vaccinate over half of its population with a first dose by July.
Chile has ordered almost 90 million vaccine doses – enough to provide its entire population with both doses of the jab.

The Chilean health system gave the country a great headstart, thanks to its experience in mass immunisation programmes, as well as its many vaccination centres set up around the country.

In 2020, Chile also participated in the clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines, strengthening its negotiating position with companies such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and CanSino.

3. Uruguay

Overall population: 3.462 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 51%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 15%
Key suppliers: Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinovac

Despite being the last country in South America to receive coronavirus jabs, Uruguay’s COVID-19 vaccine programme is booming.

A few short months ago, in March, the country started its inoculation campaign with a focus on teachers, soldiers, police and firefighters. Fast forward to July, and Uruguay has administered roughly 4,059,766 doses of COVID vaccines.

The beginning of the rollout saw some 90 vaccination centres open their doors to over 140,000 essential workers, to give a first dose of the Chinese CoronaVac shot.

Unfortunately, while coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out rapidly here, cases and death tolls are increasing. Experts believe that politicians may have reduced social distancing measurements too soon in light of the successful vaccination campaign.

4. Israel

Overall population: 9.053 million people
Share of people fully vaccinated: 60%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 5.2%
Key suppliers: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech

When it comes to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, Israel is strides ahead of many other countries. Just three weeks after the first citizen received the jab – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself – over half of all Israelis had received their first dose.

Controversially, Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed an agreement between Pfizer and Israel, whereby the country has agreed to exchange citizens’ data for 10 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine – in other words, shipments of 400,000-700,000 doses every week.

Plus, despite its seemingly valiant efforts, Israel’s success story is overshadowed by darker news – the government failing to vaccinate millions of Palestinians living under its military occupation. What’s more, hundreds of vaccine doses are said to have been thrown away in Israeli clinics after reaching the expiration date, while millions of Palestinians are being denied the vaccine.

After only a few weeks of providing vaccinations, studies suggested Israel’s vaccination programme was driving down infections in the over-60s. Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) figures show only 531 people over 60, out of almost 750,000 fully vaccinated, have since tested positive for coronavirus. What’s more, far fewer in this group fell ill, with just 38 becoming hospitalised with moderate, severe, or critical conditions.

5. Bahrain

Overall population: 1.641 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 59%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 4.4%
Key suppliers: Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm/Beijing, Sputnik V

Another Gulf nation leading the way in the race against COVID-19, Bahrain has now vaccinated over half of its population, which is only set to increase in the coming months.

The government has committed to vaccinating at least 5,000 individuals per day. Similar to the UAE, Bahrain first approved the Sinopharm vaccine in November for use by frontline workers, which was later followed by the Pfizer-BioNTech,  Sinopharm/Beijing, and Sputnik V vaccines.

Bahrain has also made the jabs much more accessible for citizens by allowing vaccine appointments to be booked through a mobile app – users can even choose which vaccine they would prefer.

6. Italy

Overall population: 60.36 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 33%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 24%
Key suppliers: Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech

With over a third of the country having already received the first COVID dose, Italy is pushing way ahead of many other EU countries in the race to combat coronavirus.

To aid the rollout of the vaccine, temporary solar-powered healthcare buildings have been popping up in town squares around the country. Designed to look like five-petalled primrose flowers (a symbol of spring), these centres are not only providing safe spaces for Italians to roll up their sleeves for the jab, but have also become symbols of hope.

Despite Italy’s rapid vaccination rate over the past week, the situation varies drastically from region to region, with some highly populated regions – like Lombardy – still lagging behind. This had led Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government down a path of strong criticism – even Conte’s predecessor, Matteo Renzi, says progress on vaccinations has been too slow.

7. Hungary

Overall population: 771,608
Share of people fully vaccinated: 51%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 5.9%
Key suppliers: Johnson&Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm/Beijing, Sputnik V

Although the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines started slowly in Hungary, the country has really picked up the pace in the past few months.

The main reason for the speedy rollout is the governments signing off on additional coronavirus vaccines, even though they have not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency. Hungary became the first EU country to approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in January, followed by China’s Sinopharm vaccine in February.

So, while many of the other EU countries struggle with supply issues, Hungary has plenty of vaccines to offer citizens.

As a result, Hungary’s Prime Minister announced in June that parts of the economy could reopen, as the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rate surpassed 40%.

Coronavirus vaccination

One of the millions of people receiving their coronavirus vaccine

8. Spain

Overall population: 46 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 40%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 16%
Key suppliers: Johnson&Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech

After a lot of backlash over delayed vaccines in early 2021, Spain is finally on track to protecting its population from the virus – overtaking most other European countries on the way.

The country’s plan initially focused on seniors in residences and their carers, as well as front-line healthcare workers. However, as more doses become available, Spain is on track to vaccinate half of its population in the coming weeks.

In a controversial announcement, the government stated that a register of people who refuse to be vaccinated against coronavirus will be created and shared with other European Union nations – despite urging the public that the vaccine is completely voluntary,

“People who are offered a therapy that they refuse for any reason, it will be noted in the register… that there is no error in the system, not to have given this person the possibility of being vaccinated.”

According to a recent poll, the number of Spanish citizens who have said they will not take the vaccine has fallen from 47% in November down to 28% – we can’t possibly imagine why!

9. Germany

Overall population: 83.02 million
Share of people fully vaccinated: 38%
Share of people partially vaccinated: 18%
Key suppliers: Johnson&Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech

After the country’s slow start – thanks to problems with supplies – vaccine rollouts in Germany finally began to gain traction in March.

German health minister Jens Spahn said the country was heading towards giving 3.5 million vaccinations a week by May, aiming to cover the population by the end of summer.

Now that more vaccines are available, an increase in the number of daily doses administered has climbed, peaking at more than 700,000. Germany also recently set a new European record for coronavirus vaccinations by giving more than 1 million jabs in a single day.


Rolling out a vaccine to millions of vulnerable people in the midst of a pandemic was never going to be an easy task – but it seems some countries have been able to handle the logistics much better than others. 

As the vaccine makes its way to millions of people over the next few months, many remain hopeful that we’ll get a little bit more normality back in 2021.