US could overtake UK in vaccine rollout as Biden offers jabs to all adults this month

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Jamie Johnson
·3 min read
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President Joe Biden visits a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary - AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden visits a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary - AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The United States looks likely to overtake the UK in vaccinating a higher percentage of its population in the coming months, as Joe Biden last night announced that all American adults should be offered a jab by April 19.

The American vaccine rollout is working in “overdrive” according to Mr Biden, with some four million doses given in 24 hours over the weekend and 150 million shots administered in his first 75 days in office.

By contrast, the UK scheme is anticipated to slow down.

Official estimates of UK supplies have been sharply downgraded and the Cabinet Office has indicated that an average of 2.7 million doses a week will be given in England until the end of July, down from a previous estimate of 3.2 million.

In America, an average of three million shots are given each day.

Cases, deaths and vaccinations, coronavirus world map
Cases, deaths and vaccinations, coronavirus world map

150 million doses being administered during Mr Biden's presidency means 166.53 million shots have been given to its 331 million-strong population - equivalent to 50.31 per 100 people.

Just over 32 per cent of Americans have a first dose and 18.66 per cent have had a second, making nearly one in five American adults fully protected against the virus.

In the UK, nearly 47 per cent of people have had their first dose and 8 per cent have received their second.

The UK population is 67.89 million and 37,119,083 doses have been administered.

This means that a higher proportion of jabs has been administered in the UK than in the US, with 54.52 total doses per 100 people compared to 50.31.

But the numbers are expected to narrow.

Read more: How the US is about to overtake Britain's vaccine rollout

Supplies of UK vaccines in April have been constrained by the need to test a batch of 1.7 million doses and delays in a shipment of around five million jabs from India.

The Cabinet Office scenario, provided to experts on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) suggests the squeeze on supplies may continue for months.

In America, if the Biden administration reaches its target of 200m doses in 100 days (by April 30) that would mean 216.53 million doses in total, or 65.41 doses per 100 people.

US vaccination map
US vaccination map

If Britain was to keep vaccinating at its current rate of around 560,000 shots a day, it would reach 51,230,308 total doses - or 75.47 per 100 people by April 30, but that is not expected to happen.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman refused to be drawn on "details around supplies and deliveries" of vaccine doses but said "we remain on track" to meet the targets set for the programme.

Downing Street has insisted all adults will be offered a coronavirus vaccine by the end of July as planned.

Mr Biden last night announced plans to bring forward the deadline for states to make all American adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by almost two weeks.

The original deadline had been May 1, but such is the success of the rollout, Mr Biden set a new target date of April 19.

But the news came with a stark warning.

“Let me be perfectly earnest with you: we aren’t at the finish line. This fight isn’t over. Now is not the time to celebrate. We can and will do this, but we can’t let up now.”