Declining Vaccine Demand
A Data Snapshot on Demand for COVID-19 Vaccine – May 2022
The number of COVID-19 doses administered has been falling sharply since the beginning of the year. As of end of April 2022, vaccination rates in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region are below 50%; in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAR) and West and Central Africa (WCAR) regions, rates are below 20%. Similarly, the booster vaccination rates in these three regions are among the lowest globally at less than 10% boosted – MENA (8.7%), ESAR (1.8%) and WCAR (0.2%) respectively.
Being fully vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect against serious illness, yet many countries are falling well short of WHO’s target of 70% of the population vaccinated by mid-June 2022.
Number of doses administered and vaccination rate
The ‘primary vaccine series’ refers to the initial number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine a person needs to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’. For most (not all) COVID-19 vaccines, this is a series of two doses spaced weeks apart. The primary vaccine series does not include ‘booster’ doses which are required because the level of immunity the vaccine provides, naturally decreases over time.
In comparing vaccine willingness globally, from the primary vaccine series to the booster dose, there is a clear trend of decreased willingness for the booster dose. Regional comparisons illustrate areas of greatest concern as described above – MENA, ESAR and WCAR.
Vaccine willingness by region – primary vaccine series vs booster – May 2022
Booster dose willingness increases with age. When looking (globally) at vaccine willingness by age, for the primary vaccine series, there are minimal differences across all generations (from 18-year-olds up to 75+). However, for the booster dose, there is a decreasing trend in willingness among younger populations, with the youngest population group analyzed (18-24-year old) having the greatest disparity between vaccination series.
Vaccine willingness by age group – primary vaccine series vs booster – May 2022
The reduced severity of the Omicron variant may partially explain decreasing interest in COVID-19 vaccination, especially among younger (and presumably healthier) populations. The Omicron wave came indeed with a lower number of deaths despite seeing a much higher number of cases.
Number of COVID-19 cases and deaths
Reduced severity of the Omicron variant may also factor into reduced risk perception (blue line) which has been decreasing since the peak of the Omicron wave in January 2022. The increasing effectiveness and availability of therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 (in some countries) may also partially account for this decrease.
Number of COVID-19 cases and risk perception
Interactive map of various indicators relevant to demand for COVID-19 vaccine
(all below figures are monthly and as of end of May 2022)
See below our data sources
- WHO – Achieving 70% COVID-19 Immunization Coverage by Mid-2022 (December 2021)
- WHO – Interim statement on booster doses for COVID-19 vaccination (December 2021)
- WHO – WHO SAGE Roadmap for prioritizing uses of COVID-19 vaccines (January 2022)
- Financial Times – Demand for Covid vaccines falls amid waning appetite for booster shots (April 2022)
- Persons interested in exploring country-level data further can use the RCCE COVID-19 Country Dashboard
Publication: 18th May 2022
Data updated: 3rd June 2022