Vial of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo by Jenner Institute/John Cairns

New, regularly updated data on official vaccination prioritisation lists, which population groups are receiving vaccines, and the cost of vaccination to the individual is now available from the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker.

Scientists, governments and the public will be able to systematically compare the effects of different strategies in vaccine prioritisation, deployment and funding using this new specific dataset for vaccination policies covering 187 countries/ regions /territories, adding important new information to the global knowledge of vaccine rollout.

The data is available on the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker page.

The tracker, based at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, has been monitoring policies introduced by governments to tackle the spread of COVID-19 since January 2020, continuing to adapt its data tracking to new developments as the pandemic progressed.

The three new indicators track prioritisation, eligibility and financial support for more than 50 different categories of people (age bands, professions, vulnerabilities, etc.) from the beginning of the pandemic to the present:

  1. Vaccine prioritisation (V1): details the published plan in each country for prioritising eligible groups for vaccination, ranked in order: no plan, plan in place, universal/general eligibility for the adult population.
  2. Vaccine eligibility/availability (V2): details when categories of people become eligible and start receiving vaccinations. This is divided into: age, medically/clinically vulnerable (non-elderly), educators, frontline workers (non-healthcare), frontline workers (healthcare), elderly.
  3. Vaccine financial support (V3): reports the overall approach taken to vaccine funding, whether paid by the individual or the government.

Some interesting overall trends identified include:

  • By 1 April 2021, 168 countries/regions/territories out of the 187 monitored had published an official plan outlining their prioritisation of groups for vaccination.
  • The top three categories who received vaccinations first were the elderly, healthcare frontline workers, and clinically vulnerable (non elderly). o Other categories that many jurisdictions prioritised were educators, military, border security workers and police/first responders
  • Some countries made locally relevant choices in prioritising groups: for example Ghana prioritised farmers and workers in the food supply chain, while in Bolivia and Congo journalists and press officials were prioritised.
  • Lebanon held a one day 'vaccination marathon' to vaccinate as many over the age of 30 years as possible on 29 May 2021.
  • Botswana, India, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan required a small fee for vaccination from individuals so their governments did not fully fund vaccination for everyone
  • High income countries took an average of 6-7 months to go from a prioritised list to universal adult access, whereas Low Income Countries, especially those with high vaccine hesitancy, moved more quickly to universal access (approximately 2-3 months) to increase uptake.

Thomas Hale, Associate Professor at the Blavatnik School of Government, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker has been providing researchers, policymakers and the public with independent, regularly updated data to identify the most effective patterns of policy measures. With many countries and regions currently still rolling out vaccination, we hope this new data will contribute to understanding which combination of eligibility and prioritisation may work best for different populations.”

Information on vaccination policies is essential in deepening the ability to understand issues such as the effects of vaccines on different population sub-groups, vaccine hesitancy, or the interaction between vaccine rollout and non-pharmaceutical interventions, including closure and containment policies.