Recently, and gladly, vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 are popping up around the world. The first person to be vaccinated is mostly a political choice, a great opportunity to pass a message to the population. After seeing the first images of UK, Europe and Brazil, I got interested in looking for who received the first injection in every country. Until the day I gathered the data, the average first recipient is a 64-years-old retired woman. Next, I present in details my small research.
The methodology is quite simple: from the Our World In Data database, I got the countries that were already vaccinating (55 at the time). This list was enough to direct my research on the web for news and official statements indicating the first person to be vaccinated on every country. In the case of ambiguity or simultaneous vaccination, like for Costa Rica (Elizabeth Castillo Cervantes, 91 years old, and Jorge De Fort Almetlla, 72) or Luxembourg (Catarina Fernandes, 40, and Kevin Nazzaro, 28), I simply selected the first name or photo that appeared in most of the articles. I cataloged the vaccination date, the vaccine that was used (Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinovac, etc), name, age, occupation and sex of the first vaccine recipient. I’ll focus on the latter characteristics, complete list is available on the end of this post so whoever is interested can also analyze and expand the database.
Of course this does not really represent the first person to be ever vaccinated against COVID-19 in any given country, as it ignores the testing phases and only open, publicized ceremonies are taken into account, however, it represents a part of the image each country populations’ will associate to the vaccine. By looking at the age and occupation of the recipients, we get a pretty prospect of what is happening.
Two main groups were clearly vaccinated first (for this analysis, database is reduced to only countries which age of the recipient was found): people at higher risk (15 in 36, 41.7 %), mostly living in care facilities, and nurses (10, 27.8 %). Front-line workers in general were 14, 38.9 % of the database. Government officials were 19.4 % of the first to be inoculated, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan, in an effort to give an example to the population. Younger recipient was Jelena Rozinko, a 24-years-old medical resident from Estonia; oldest recipient was german citizen Edith Kwoizalla, at 101 years old. In terms of geography, Europe is ahead, with 38 of the 55 countries that had already started vaccination at the time of my research.
As I was expecting, there is an important skewness in the age of the recipients, with 52.8 % of them being older than 60 years old. Such distribution of recipients is far from being a reflect of world’s population.
Although the reference values, from the United Nations’ World Population Prospects, do not really represent the age structure of the countries that started vaccinating until the time I did my research (mostly European nations), the recipients are way more concentrated at the right of the graph. The elderly are more affected by the disease and also more prone to occupy I.C.U.s beds (compared to 18-29 years old, there is 5 times more risk to hospitalization and 90 times more risk of death when one is 65 years old or older), thus, it is in everybody’s interest that they get the first vaccine doses. Many countries are following this logic in their vaccination campaigns as well.
Another interesting aspect of the dataset is the occurrence of way more females than males. There is an easy explanation to why women were more present at the ceremonies that launched the vaccination campaigns. Most represented societal groups are nurses and older adults. In both of these groups women are more numerous than men. Considering the average of several countries’ female to male ratios, data from the World Health Organization, women are almost 80 % of global nursing personnel.
Vaccines are a stunning example of our scientific capacities and of human endeavor. I am by far not instructed to discuss diseases or vaccination policies, this is just a first look at a reduced and not so meaningful database. I hope it got you interested and that everybody get their doses as fast as possible. If you find any mistake or have any suggestion or comments, please contact me!
Table with the information of the first vaccine recipients is presented next. I was not able to find any info for some of the countries (Bahrain, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates), and for a significant part of them the age and name of the recipient was apparently not disclosed. Links were accessed between January 19 and 21.
|Bulgaria||27/12/20||Kostadin Angelov||male||43||health minister||link|
|Costa Rica||24/12/20||Elizabeth Castillo Cervantes||female||91||retired||link|
|Cyprus||27/12/20||Anastasios Tsiftsis||male||medical doctor||link|
|Czechia||27/12/20||Andrej Babis||male||66||prime minister||link|
|Estonia||27/12/20||Jelena Rozinko||female||24||medical doctor||link|
|Gibraltar||10/01/20||Dr Krishna Rawal||male||medical doctor|
|Hungary||27/12/20||Adrienne Kertesz||female||medical doctor||link|
|India||16/01/20||Manish Kumar||male||34||sanitation worker||link|
|Israel||19/12/20||Benjamin Netanyahu||male||71||prime minister||link|
|Kuwait||24/12/20||Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah||male||67||prime minister||link|
|Mexico||24/12/20||María Irene Ramírez||female||59||nurse||link|
|Northern Ireland||08/12/20||Joanna Sloan||female||nurse||link|
|Oman||27/12/20||Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Saidi||male||health minister||link|
|Portugal||27/12/20||António Sarmento||male||65||medical doctor||link|
|Serbia||24/12/20||Ana Brnabic||female||45||prime minister||link|
|Slovakia||26/12/20||Vladimir Krcmery||male||60||medical doctor||link|
|Turkey||13/01/21||Fahrettin Koca||male||56||health minister||link|
|United Arab Emirates|
|United States||14/12/20||Sandra Lindsay||female||26||nurse||link|
Data was treated in Python using pandas library, plots were generated using matplotlib and seaborn(for the swarm plot only). Code for generating the plots and CSV files of the 3 databases used in this analysis are available for download here and in my GitHub. World population database is made available by the United Nations under license CC BY 3.0 IGO; gender distribution of health workers comes from the Worlds Health Organization under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO license. In what concerns my data, field
source indicates one of the reference pages used to confirm the identity of the first receiver; date of access is given just before, in the