Australia’s vaccine rollout is ramping up.

Last week, the vaccination campaign reached approximately seven percent of the population — a new record for Australia. The current pace of the rollout now exceeds the peak tempo achieved in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, according to official data accessed from each jurisdiction and compiled by Australia Zone.

The United Kingdom recorded its best calendar week of the vaccine rollout back in March, when it administered more than six doses per 100 residents in a seven-day period. The European Union achieved a similar feat in June, briefly crossing the 6-in-100 threshold before the rate declined. The United States climbed even higher, but never as high as Australia did last week.

Australia’s rollout got off to a slow start. Its medical regulator — the Therapeutic Goods Administration — did not approve any COVID-19 vaccine until 25 January, long after vaccines were registered in other jurisdictions. Russia, for example, registered its Sputnik vaccine in August 2020 and commenced vaccination in early December; Mexico approved the Pfizer vaccine on 11 December and was able to begin its rollout by the end of the year. According to Our World in Data, however, Australia has now administered more doses per capita than Russia and Mexico have, despite waiting much longer for vaccine approval.

Australia’s increased vaccination speed has seen it ‘overtake’ several other countries in recent weeks, and with supply increasing and eligibility expanding, the rollout isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

There’s still room for improvement. Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Canada and Ireland have shown that the vaccine can be rolled out at an even faster pace, and critics of the rollout are still questioning Australia’s swiftness in administering doses. While the vaccine has been highly accessible in Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong, other parts of the country are still desperate for access.

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