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These Five Countries Lead the Worldwide Vaccine Rollout

By March 31, 2021September 2nd, 2022No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted scientists worldwide to drive one of the fastest vaccine development campaigns in history. Now, with the approval of multiple vaccines, countries around the world race to secure and distribute them. Nearly 550 million doses have been administered across the globe in just under four months since doctors provided the first shots to healthcare workers in New York.

The pace of vaccine distributions has significant implications for the international business landscape. Countries that expedite vaccine rollout relax social-distancing mandates and reopen their economies. Read on to discover five countries leading the way in vaccinating their populations—and improving their economic forecasts.  


Israel is vaccinating its population quicker than any other country. Healthcare workers in Israel have already distributed nearly 10 million vaccine doses—an average of more than one for each of the 9.3 million people living in the country. Over 52% of Israelis are currently vaccinated, and 57% of the population has received at least one shot. 

Experts attribute Israel’s fast rollout to several developments. First, Israel offered distributors access to patient data to help track the efficacy of the vaccines. Israel also has a well-developed technological infrastructure that allows vaccine administrators to easily reach out to patients through texts, emails, and phone calls. Additionally, because the Israeli government incentivizes healthcare providers to offer client-friendly plans and high levels of care, providers are adept at efficiently and quickly supporting patients. 

Israel’s fast vaccine rollout coincides with favorable growth projections for 2021. Economists believe the country will see GDP growth of 4.9% this year—an improvement on the 3.7% growth the country has averaged since the mid-2000s, and a far cry from its 5.9% contraction in 2020. 

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) trails only Israel in terms of the percentage of its population vaccinated. The UAE has distributed over 8 million vaccination doses to its population of 9.9 million people. About 56% of the UAE’s population is fully immunized. 

The UAE expedited its vaccine rollout by becoming the first country to approve the Sinopharm vaccine. The UAE turned to Sinopharm to jumpstart an economy suffering from the pandemic and a decreased global demand for oil—the country’s most lucrative export. To further expedite the vaccination process, the UAE will begin manufacturing the Sinopharm vaccine in-country in April. Two UAE companies will team up to begin production: Gulf Pharmaceuticals Industries PSC and Group 42, an artificial intelligence and cloud computing company based in Abu Dhabi. 

Economic forecasters believe the UAE will become one of the world’s first countries to fully begin an economic recovery in 2021. The First Abu Dhabi Bank predicts 2.5% GDP growth this year, including 3.6% growth in non-oil sectors. 


Chile has administered nearly 9.7 million vaccine doses to its population, averaging just over one shot for every two people. As the country’s healthcare system administers an average of about 158,000 shots per day, Chile has fully vaccinated 17% of its populace. 

Chile accelerated its rollout by broadening its pool of vaccines to include those from China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Covax initiative. Participating in phase 3 clinical trials for several vaccines also gave the country leverage when securing doses from drug producers. 

Chileans benefit from the government’s easy-to-understand vaccine distribution system. The country’s Ministry of Health does not require appointments, instead offering vaccines on a first-come, first-serve basis for any eligible recipient. Chile’s robust national immunization registry facilitates record-keeping, so administrators can easily let people know when they are due for their second shot.    

Despite the vaccine rollout success, challenges exist. Chile is currently amid a second COVID-19 surge, setting a new record for cases in a day with 7,084 on March 20. Experts attribute the rise to an increase in travel during Chile’s summer months of December through March, along with a false sense of security due to the fast vaccine distribution. Still, economists are bullish about Chile’s growth in 2021: the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts the country will see a 4.2% GDP increase this year. 

The United Kingdom

The UK is nearly on par with Chile in terms of vaccines administered per person, as the country has delivered just over one shot for every two residents. However, because of the UK’s greater population, its government has given out a staggering 33 million doses. 

While Brexit created many complications for the UK, its departure from the European Union (EU) is instrumental in its vaccine distribution. The UK quickly authorized multiple vaccines while EU regulators went through a longer approval process. As a result, the UK was able to promptly secure doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, made in-country in conjunction with the University of Oxford. Furthermore, Prime Minister Boris Johnson entrusted vaccine distribution to the state-funded National Health Service rather than individual contractors or private companies. This decision led to a centralized, efficient vaccine administration system. 

Like Chile, the UK faces complications despite its expedited immunization campaign. The country has suffered more COVID-19 deaths (126,000) than any other in Europe and is still under the threat of emerging variants. Experts have mixed expectations about the extent of the UK’s economic recovery in 2021, but many agree that the ongoing vaccine rollout will improve the outlook. “There’s clearly pent-up demand and a bigger boost will come when restrictions are eased further, says Dan Hanson of Bloomberg Economics. “Consumer spending will also benefit once the closure of the hospitality and leisure sector ends.” 

The United States

The U.S. far-and-away leads the world with over 145 million vaccine doses administered. Per capita, the U.S. has provided at least one dose to at least 28% of its population, with nearly 16% fully vaccinated. 

The U.S. benefits from a recent production increase for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, along with the newly-approved, one-shot Johnson & Johnson option. Encouraged by the pace of vaccine development and distribution, President Joe Biden doubled his goal of administering 100 million doses within his first 100 days of office. The Biden Administration now hopes to deliver 200 million shots by April 30, with the president announcing that 90% of adults will be eligible to receive a vaccine by April 19. 

Thanks to the accelerated vaccine rollout and a historic stimulus package passed in February, economists are increasingly confident the U.S. is on track for a full-on economic boom in 2021. “The post-vaccine reopening of the economy is barely underway,” said Goldman Sach’s senior economist Spencer Hill, “but our expectation of accelerating sequential growth is transitioning from forecast to fact.” Experts at Oxford Economics believe the U.S. economy will see 7% growth in 2021, dwarfing the average rate of 2.9% between 2015-19. 

How to Streamline Entry Into Prosperous Markets

While countries recover at different paces, opportunistic companies planning international growth set their sights on markets with favorable economic outlooks. Working with an International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) speeds up global hiring and entry into these markets. By acting as a company’s Employer of Record (EOR), an International PEO partner enables organizations to quickly begin foreign operations, legally hire workers, provide benefits and payroll, and maintain ongoing compliance. 

Velocity Global’s experts provide unparalleled International PEO and EOR services for companies of every size. Find out how our knowledge and experience can help you capitalize on growth opportunities in over 185 overseas markets.