Verum couldn’t find her crystal ball. She continued muttering as she opened drawers and cupboards, sifted through piles of books, and even looked under the beds. But it was nowhere to be found. To catch her breath, she sat down in her corner of the room. Detecting her presence, Verum’s trusty crystal ball started humming from under a pillow.

Verum said, “There you are! I have been looking for you everywhere! Now, tell me what’s the news for today.”

A few minutes later, Verum said, “Oh, no! More than 50 countries didn’t meet the Covid-19 vaccination target set by the World Health Organization (WHO)!”

“What was the target?” said Orak.

“By the end of September 2021, 10% of the nation’s population had to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19,” said Verum, “In the United Kingdom (UK), 66% of the population has been fully vaccinated while the number is 62% in the European Union (EU). The United States (US) stands at about 55%. But over 50 countries haven’t met this target.”

“Which countries are those?” said Felix.

“They are mostly in Africa, where WHO’s overall vaccination rate is as low as 4.4%,” replied Verum, “Only 15 out of 54 countries in Africa have met the target. Larger countries with bigger populations like Egypt with 5%,  and Nigeria, and Ethiopia with less than 3% have fallen short. Meanwhile, Burundi and Eritrea haven’t even rolled out vaccination programs.”

“As for the rest of the world, countries with prolonged conflict like Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Myanmar, Afghanistan haven’t met this target. Because of natural disasters, Haiti hasn’t met its target either,” said Verum, “But even a wealthy nation like Taiwan is still below 10% due to delivery delays. Vietnam, too.”

“But why have the low-income countries not met this target?” said Scorch.

“The Covax program! These countries depended on WHO’s Covax program through which equal vaccine distribution is ensured,” said Verum, “But it was dependent on India’s Serum Institute – the world’s largest producer of vaccines. India stopped exporting vaccines in April to meet its own needs. Other vaccine-makers struggled to increase production.”

“Oh, I remember you mentioning that India is restarting its vaccine imports soon!” said Orak.

“And wealthy countries like the US are also donating vaccines,” said Verum, “Hopefully, the situation will get better.”