Why vaccinating the world against COVID-19 is a monumental undertaking

Getting the world vaccinated against COVID-19 is a monumental and complex task.

June 10, 2021, 9:19 AM

Vaccinating the world against COVID-19, which has killed more than 3.7 million people to date, is a monumental and complex task -- arguably, the biggest inoculation effort undertaken in history.

PHOTO: Doctors and nurses from the Gevas Public Health Center vaccination team walk to a house to administer the Chinese Sinovac Coronavac vaccine during a house call in the village of Daldere on Feb. 12, 2021 in Van, Turkey.
Trekking in the mountains in Turkey: Doctors and nurses from the Gevas Public Health Center vaccination team walk to a house to administer the Chinese Sinovac Coronavac vaccine during a house call in the village of Daldere on Feb. 12, 2021. Since shipments of the Chinese Sinovac Coronavac vaccine arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30, 2020, medical teams across the country have been working house to house to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to elderly and vulnerable citizens.
Chris Mcgrath/Getty Images

In addition to developing safe and effective vaccines in record time, the logistics of rolling out those doses have been immense and raised questions about access and equity, specifically for poorer countries around the world and at-risk populations in the U.S. and elsewhere.

PHOTO: France's national cycling team trains as people wait to get a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the indoor Velodrome National of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France, March 26, 2021.
COVID-19 vaccines in a velodrome in France: The national cycling team trains as people wait to get a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the indoor Velodrome National of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France, March 26, 2021.
Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

And experts say vaccinating the world is a matter of necessity, specifically vulnerable populations -- a key to reducing the burden on health systems and stemming the tide of contagious variants.

PHOTO: Medical workers in Caracas, Venezuela wait to be vaccinated with the Chinese Vero Celll vaccine against COVID-19 in the Municipal Council of Baruta, May 28, 2021.
Prioritizing health care workers in Venezuela: Medical workers wait to be vaccinated with the Chinese Vero Celll vaccine against COVID-19 in the Municipal Council of Baruta in Caracas, Venezuela, May 28, 2021.
Rayner Pena R/EPA via Shutterstock

The contrasts between haves and have-nots couldn't be starker -- while more than half the adults in the U.S. are fully inoculated much of the world lags behind. And as the U.S. struggles with unused doses of vaccines and hesitancy, some countries, such as India, Nepal, South Africa and those in South America are facing staggering outbreaks and losses.

Senior Sudeen Pryce receives support from classmate Alexia Phipps, East Hartford High School Intervention Coordinator Mark Brown and EMT Katrinna Greene as RN Kaylee Cruz administers the Pfizer vaccine at Pratt & Whitney Runway in East Hartford, Conn.
High School senior Sudeen Pryce, center, receives support from classmate Alexia Phipps, left, East Hartford High School Intervention Coordinator Mark Brown, second from left, and EMT Katrinna Greene as RN Kaylee Cruz administers the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Pryce at a mass vaccination site at Pratt & Whitney Runway in East Hartford, Conn., April 26, 2021.
Jessica Hill/AP

Worldwide, more than 1.98 billion COVID-19 single vaccine doses have been administered, according to Our World in Data, but that does not account for the two doses required in many cases nor does it always indicate where doses have been administered. With more than 7.7 billion people in the world, there remains a long way to go in the battle against COVID-19.

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