Vaccination advances, immunity still a long way off

Just over 63% of Luxembourg residents have received at least one dose of vaccine  Photo: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen / SIP

Just over 63% of Luxembourg residents have received at least one dose of vaccine  Photo: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen / SIP

As part of its inoculation drive, Luxembourg has launched a vaccination bus and is looking to get as many jabs in arms as possible, but herd immunity against Sars-CoV-2 is still a long way off, especially when taking a more global look.

On Monday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported a vaccination rate of 72.2% for the first dose and 68.4% for full vaccination in Luxembourg. This places the grand duchy not far ahead of France (82% and 62.3% respectively) and Germany (73.9% and 62.6%) for complete vaccination schedules, but behind Belgium (83.8% and 76%).

However, the ECDC’s vaccination figures include only people aged over 18 and, for some weeks now, vaccination has been open to children and teenagers over the age of 12 in most European countries. 

Looking at the population as a whole, Our World in Data shows that in Belgium 70.23% of the population has received at least one dose with 61.94% being fully vaccinated. Nearly two thirds of people in France (65.14%) have been vaccinated with at least one dose, with almost half (49.37%) being fully vaccinated. Germany looks to be lagging behind (at least one dose: 61.96%; full vaccination schedule: 54.41%).

For its part, Luxembourg shows that 63.24% of its population has received at least one dose. Our World in Data also reports that 330,379 residents are fully vaccinated, but the site does not consider people who received a single dose of the vaccine after being sick with covid-19 as fully vaccinated.

Taking this into account, 363,603 residents are fully vaccinated. That is 58% of the population.

By not taking age into consideration, the data also fails to account for differences in age distribution. Countries with a higher proportion of children under the age of 12 could post a lower overall vaccination rate as a result. 

Globally, 15.5% of people are vaccinated

Luxembourg has injected more than 500,000 doses over the last three months. It recently launched a vaccination bus that makes stops at concerts and events this summer and where people can get vaccinated without an appointment. Doctor’s offices have also begun offering the vaccine.

The government has, however, not yet decided whether it will follow suit with Germany to offer a third dose of the Pfizer/Biontech or Moderna vaccines to the elderly and vulnerable groups who may have a lower immune response to the jab.

The chief medical officer of Biontech, Özlem Türeci, on Monday said that a third dose should likely be given 12 months after the first round of vaccination to maintain “the highest level of protection”. Presenting its annual results, the company said it does not yet see the need to adapt its formula to the Delta or other variants but that this might change as more variants emerge.

To achieve herd immunity, scientists agree that a 90% rate of immunity is needed, a goal that seems a long way off. Worldwide, only 30% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, Our World in Data reports, with just 15.5% fully vaccinated.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.