How COVID-19 vaccines make it around the world

By Emily Janoch

The world was able to administer 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within 4 months of starting widespread vaccination campaigns. CARE is jumping in to support vaccination efforts in 23 countries around the world.

It’s dizzying trying to keep up with the COVID-19 vaccination news. The numbers change dramatically every day, and they are so complex that it’s hard to know what they mean.

But, we’re got reason to celebrate. The world was able to administer 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within 4 months of starting widespread vaccination campaigns — something we have never before accomplished. 1.16 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered by May 3. It took real commitment, creativity, and collective effort through groups like COVAX that have created unprecedented tools to get more than 49 million vaccines to people who need it most in countries that don’t manufacture vaccines.

Yet we’ve still got a long way to go. As with everything else in COVID-19, the global numbers mask serious inequalities.

Countries are facing three major challenges right now: under investments in vaccine rollout and the healthcare workers who deliver them; people’s reluctance to get the vaccine; and difficulties getting enough vaccines.

CARE is jumping in to support vaccination efforts in 23 countries around the world, with the creativity and local expertise you would expect to meet such a complex problem. Our activities range from setting up hospitals in India to helping train vaccinators and volunteers in Bangladesh, to distributing vaccines in South Sudan. In other countries, we’re helping governments plan local vaccination campaigns or hosting large scale education campaigns to get people the information they need to feel comfortable getting the vaccine.

In Bangladesh, CARE and partners provided training to government vaccinators and volunteers. Photo:Asafuzzaman Captain/CARE Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, CARE and partners provided training to government vaccinators and volunteers. Photo: Asafuzzaman Captain/CARE Bangladesh

What are we doing?

Helping people trust vaccines. Nineteen countries are helping run vaccine education campaigns to build trust and share accurate information. That includes a unique partnership running Facebook ad campaigns that will help people access information about vaccines. In Congo, the team is using their experience with Ebola education to build trust around vaccines. Benin is using radio shows and working with community leaders to raise awareness around vaccines. Nepal is helping women in communities who volunteer on health issues to share information about vaccines.

Getting vaccines where they’re needed most. Nine countries are helping connect vaccines to the last mile delivery posts, where people can access them. Bangladesh is working with the government to support vaccine rollout in hard-to-reach areas and populations. South Sudan is planning with local governments to get vaccines distributed beyond the national capital. Pakistan supports local governments with training and advocacy campaigns risk communication sessions.

Delivering vaccines. In South Sudan, the CARE team has set up two vaccination stations and is supporting the government to administer vaccines to people. Iraq provided support to two hospitals to set up vaccination centers.

Protect and empower frontline health workers. Eight countries are working directly with frontline health workers — from training volunteers in Bangladesh and Iraq to helping health workers in Benin plan their education campaigns. In the Philippines, the team is raising the profile of all of the efforts health workers are doing right now, and helping them monitor what’s happening.

No one is safe until everyone is safe. Help support CARE's COVID-19 response around the world.