Data insight

Mapping our unvaccinated world

If health care is a human right, who is human enough to have that right?

Today 2.7 billion people have yet to receive their first vaccine shot against COVID-19. The chart below shows where they live.

The charts shows a cartogram which distorts land mass in proportion to the absolute number of unvaccinated people. Most of the unvaccinated live in the developing world, which comprise upper-middle-income, lower-middle-income and low-income countries (check the colors). Within the developing world, most of the unvaccinated live in the  lower-middle-income and low-income countries (colored in red and orange, respectively). 

The absolute number of the unvaccinated is a function of both population size and the “unvaccinated rate” (the share of unvaccinated people in total population). In the above chart, we combine these two perspectives. Land mass provides the absolute perspective: the number of unvaccinated, whereas color shows the relative perspective: the unvaccinated rate.

South Asia looks a lot better in terms of the relative metric: a larger share of the population has been vaccinated already. Still, given the huge population size of South Asia, the number of unvaccinated remains very large. Contrast this with Africa, where the large numbers reflect both the large population size of the continent and a lack of progress on the vaccination campaign. 

Let’s have a deeper look at the numbers by vaccination status (unvaccinated, vaccinated with at least 1 dose and fully vaccinated as per the primary vaccine protocol).

The chart show that 91% of the unvaccinated live in the developing world (2.4 billion out of 2.7 billion). The lower-middle-income countries alone count 1.3 billion unvaccinated or 50% of the global total. 

We can also check how the world population is distributed by vaccination status across World Bank regions. We can see the importance of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the global numbers as well as those of South Asia (SAR). East Asia & Pacific remains sizable due to its large huge population despite considerable progress in the vaccination rate.

With 2.4 billion out of the 2.7 billion unvaccinated people residing in the developing world, the following quote by Paul Farmer comes to mind: “If access to health care is considered a human a right, who is considered human enough to have that right?”.