Israel leads as world rolls out vaccines

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Nations around the world are rolling out their COVID-19 vaccine programs - and some are moving quicker than others.

Israel is leading the global vaccine race with 12 per cent of the population given a jab, or more than one million people.

The figures are from a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University in the UK.

Israel began vaccinating citizens on December 19 and about 150,000 people are receiving one each day.

People over 60, health workers and the clinically vulnerable are the priority recipients.

Israel is followed by Bahrain (3.5 per cent of the population) and the United Kingdom (1.47 per cent) as the nations with the most people vaccinated, according to the resource.

In the UK, hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to be up and running in the coming days as the NHS ramps up its program with the newly approved Oxford University and AstraZeneca jab.

More than 500,000 doses of the vaccine will be available for rollout across the UK from Monday, with vulnerable groups already identified as the priority for immunisation.

It comes as the UK on Saturday recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, with more than 57,000 cases.

In Germany, health authorities had immunised more than 130,000 people before the end of the year.

But Germany's program has been criticised by the left wing Die Linke party, which said the vaccine was "scarce" and the rollout sloppy.

The European Union was slower than either the UK or the US in giving the green light to use the vaccines. It came on December 21, while regulators in the UK gave their approval to the Pfizer compound on December 2 and the US following suit on December 11.

In Russia, more than 800,000 people in Russia have been inoculated so far and more than 1.5 million vaccine doses have been dispatched, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday.

Russia, which began rolling out its Sputnik V vaccine in early December, has the world's fourth higher number of cases and is putting high hopes on several vaccines it plans to produce.

India on Saturday approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford University jab, paving the way for a huge immunisation campaign in the world's second-most populous country.

Meanwhile in Mexico, authorities are studying the case of a 32-year-old female doctor who was hospitalised after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

The doctor suffered seizures, difficulty breathing and a skin rash, and was diagnosed with encephalomyelitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

She has a history of allergic reactions and authorities said that there was no evidence from clinical trials that anyone had developed an inflammation of the brain after the vaccine.

Australia has not yet started its vaccine program and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned it would be dangerous to rush the rollout.

- with Reuters, EFE and DPA.