Covid Vaccination Comments From Readers Around the World

I was only in California for two and a half days, but while I was there I prioritized getting a covid vaccine shot. I sought out the J&J shot because it doesn’t require a second follow-up shot, and I wasn’t sure if and when I’d be able to get a second shot of another brand.

When I mentioned on Instagram that I had gotten a vaccine while in the U.S., I received a ton of DMs asking why I hadn’t gotten one in France. They were shocked to hear that I hadn’t had the option yet.

Vaccinations are definitely happening in France, but they seem to be a couple of months (or more) behind what’s happening in America. Currently in France, the under 50 age group is officially scheduled to begin being vaccinated mid-June. Though it sounds like things may be speeding up. Just last week, as I was headed to the U.S., they invited anyone 18+ to sign up for unclaimed doses of vaccine in their area. In some areas those appointments seem to be easy to find, in other areas, they are non-existent.

Based on the responses in my Instagram inbox, it became clear to me that a lot of Americans don’t really have a picture of what’s happening vaccination-wise in the rest of the world. So I started sharing vaccination comments from readers all over the globe. I thought you might like reading them too. They are really eye-opening.

Here’s the first group of comments I shared, as I was on a layover in Dallas on my way back to France:

Here’s the second group of comments I shared, as I was up in the middle of the night with jetlag:

What are your thoughts? Was any of this news to you? Do you have your own experiences and comments to add?

P.S. — I also saved these as an Instagram highlight.

10 thoughts on “Covid Vaccination Comments From Readers Around the World”

  1. These comments make me want to stop and have a conversation with every single commenter. I find it weird to be lumped in as a “selfish, spoiled American” when we as a country have been hammered hard by Covid and suffered severe losses; we invested billions of dollars in the development and production of multiple vaccines; and we’re teetering on half of adults being vaccinated, so it’s not like we’re done and every remaining dose is surplus that we’re simply hoarding. The eager half (minus children) have been vaccinated, but the back half will be much more difficult to reach, for a variety of reasons. How do you convince someone who sincerely believes that the vaccine contains a tracking microchip? Or that getting it is against the will of God (mark of the beast)? These are not just your standard “spoiled” beliefs. I have two family members who are both healthcare workers (nurse and paramedic) who refused, and I don’t know why. Some people are just afraid to do anything proactive, fearful that this new type of vaccine will hurt them (and the side effects really can be pretty intense). Some people will eventually cave to peer pressure or employer or school enrollment or travel rules. How many people would bother to vaccinate their children for anything if it weren’t required for school admission? Some people will get the vaccine only if some nurse and social worker show up at their door and painstakingly make their case, plus provide the shot right there. It reminds of “get out the vote” efforts when you’re chasing this segment of voters who barely know or care that there’s an election coming up, while their slice of the electorate is critical to the outcome.

  2. My son, who lives in France just got is first vaccine yesterday. He’s coming home in June and will get the second on here in California. I, too, was surprised by how long it took.

  3. Thanks once again for using your platform to make available all these perspectives.In Italy My mom is fully vaccinated, my dad is waiting for his second shot in July and my sister works to provide shots every day (weekend included) over time. I am an expat living in Norway 40 yo, and I don’t know when it will be possible for me and my family here to get any vaccine. And yet feel privileged knowing that I have available a good healthcare system and sooner or later the chance to get the vaccine will come.

  4. These comments are so valuable documents of what we are going through; I have friends in India, in the USA, in Argentina, in Brasil, half of my family in Mexico, the other half in France and even in the same country the perception of what is going on is different. What you read in the papers, what people tell you, what doctor friends tell you, etc. My 90 y old father is under the care of a lovely care-taker who doesn’t want to be vaccinated. So much work needs to be done, to explain clearly and publicly how the different vaccinec work. People are intelligent enough to understand, it’s the only way (about extremes, there is not much we can do). Yesterday in France was the day museums, cinemas, music halls, terraces were open (for cafés and restaurants), after 7 months. We spent the afternoon in the Louvre! I cried as I stepped in! Tu be surrounded by colours, beauty, culture; my 7 y old was fascinated by the Egyptian rooms. I feel life is good again. Hellos to all the readers!

  5. It’s been weird to see the switch happen in Taiwan. Taiwan was COVID-free until so recently, my husband and I did have some vaccine hesitancy because it just didn’t seem like an issue. We weren’t the only ones—so many Taiwanese didn’t want the shots that foreigners could self pay for one.

    Eventually we decided safe rather than sorry, but to wait awhile and stagger our shots so that we could work and take care of our kids even if we were out for a couple of days with the side effects. Then the numbers of COVID shot up and overnight there were no more vaccines.

    Taiwan’s cases have been holding steady at 200-300 a day, but that’s higher than we’ve ever seen before, so we’re locked down—schools closed, no indoor gatherings of more than 5, masks on outside at all times.

    How quickly things change! Before we decided it wasn’t worth it to risk infection flying to the US, where the risk of infection is high. The risk of infection from flying and in the US are still higher than in Taiwan, but at least we could get a COVID shot there! Who knows when they’ll be available to foreigners in Taiwan now? Another reason to not fly was the mandatory 2-week quarantine we’d have to face when we get back, but we’re practically quarantining right now (not really—I went out to see a dermatologist today since I’ve broken out in pretty bad stress related hives and we can go to the grocery or convenience store—but we’re at home a lot, partially by choice).

  6. In Germany things are pretty slow as well, also as every federal state has its own way of doing it, even though the general guidelines, priorization etc. are valid nationwide. Here in our Federal State (Schleswig-Holstein the northernmost state) you have to book a date via an online platform hosted by a concert ticket provider. This has made it very difficult for people to get a date, with thousands trying to access dates and being sent all over the state, when they finally receive one. At least the over 80ies received a letter with a booking code, to facilitate things, but we still have loads of over 70ies who have not been vaccinated yet, due to this. All in all over 30 percent of the population have had at least 1 jab, especially since doctors are now also allowed to vaccinate (but they often only receive enough vaccine for oonly 20 shots a week!) My husband and I were able to receive one as “contact persons” of our 20 year old daughter, who is bipolar, which also qualified her for an early jab and will be receiving our second ones beginning of June.
    From 7th June onwards the priorization is due to end, so every adult who wants a vaccination can receive one, but the problem is that the delivery of the vaccine is very slow, due to that the EU ordered in bulk together……

  7. In Bolivia, we are at the bottom of the list as far as vaccine access. We are on the shortlist that our previous US President names as “s***h*** countries.” So far, our government has gotten access to only Sputnik and Sinovac, but very few doses. This is very much a result of reciprocal political policies. Our government here is socialist and is at odds with most of the developed world, politically. The consequence of this perpetual disagreement is that we aren’t granted access to medicine and don’t have a medical infrastructure to support any medical crisis of this magnitude.
    On the street, they are opening vaccines to only people 60 and over right now, and even then, you must wait in line for five or six hours before the vaccine station will close because they have run out for the day. The workers have the authorization to thaw only 200 each day, and that will never be enough to cover all who need and want them.
    The concept of vaccination is markedly different here. Vaccines are seen as a necessity for survival, and access is a luxury. Hearing about people who refuse vaccines is met with incredulity and anger at the injustice and stupidity of it all.

  8. not sure if you’re aware of this, but NYC had at least three 24 hour vaccination sites (they reengineered the 24 hour testing sites) for those with work or schedule conflicts. this was when they were still requiring appointments and the vaccine was not yet open for any age, etc.

    of course only three sites for ALL of nyc is a very low number but they were high capacity sites and accessible by public transport (and thankfully one was in our lower income neighborhood).

    now that pharmacies and such have them, i think the access is greater for gig workers, etc. than before as well. the lines at our local rite aid are significant (though not crazy)!

  9. Thanks for posting those comments from persons around the world. I live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and even here vaccine hesitancy is very prevalent. Our population is 100,000 persons and we received at least 20,000 doses of AZ vaccine from India. Because of the number of doses and vaccine hesitancy, basically anyone who wants a vaccine can get one with minimal wait. Health care worker have set up vaccine clinics in easily accessible places and have even gone house-to-house. I waited about 15 minutes for my first dose and got my second dose at work, just steps away from my desk! Even with that effort, we are having to donate unused doses before they expire. I must admit that I have a very hard time with the anti-vaxers/vaccine-hesitant crowd. I also have a hard time with the US hoarding behaviour! And yes, they just announced they will be donating AZ doses to other countries – because even though it hasn’t been approved for use for Americans it surely must be safe enough for others!

  10. In Kenya right now. We are unlikely to get enough vaccines to roll out to the general population until mid-2022 to early-2023. This pandemic is far far far from over for us. And the despair that I feel every day is immense. Many families with means here are spending a lot of money to fly to another country to get themselves and their family members vaccinated. Let us be very clear, however: 99% of families in Kenya don’t have means.

    To the person who said “we invested billions of dollars in the development and production of multiple vaccines; and we’re teetering on half of adults being vaccinated, so it’s not like we’re done and every remaining dose is surplus that we’re simply hoarding.” Yes, America was hit terribly hard. It was horrifying as a fellow citizen watching what was happening back home. But…with all due respect…while US taxpayers invested billions in the development and production of multiple vaccines, so did taxpayers in numerous other countries around the world…something that many Americans apparently are unaware of. It wasn’t just America financing vaccine development and R&D by any means. The Pfizer vaccine, after all, was developed in Germany. All that R&D? It took place in Mainz…via a large team of Germans…who had been working on the tech for years and years with German government financing.

    All this even before I mention the fact that the US is one of only 2 countries in the world – the other being Eritrea – that taxes its overseas citizens. So whatever money I paid in taxes for R&D on Covid vaccines isn’t benefitting me and many other Americans overseas at all, as the only vaccines that might come our way in the near future are Chinese and Russian. Even A-Z – which also is NOT an American-financed vaccine – has stopped shipping from India. And won’t ship again for months and months.

    Meanwhile, countries like Brazil, South Africa and Kenya allowed numerous clinical trials to take place on the bodies of their citizens in order to enable various vaccines to pass through regulatory approval in Europe, UK and North America. They did so with an understanding that these vaccines would then be made available to their citizens in a timely manner. In spite of experimenting on black African bodies for their companies’ benefit, however, none of these manufacturers sent vaccines to save these same bodies that put themselves at risk.

    Moreover, African countries have not been sent vaccines even in circumstances when they actually purchased them. Because under Covax, the many countries in Africa which are now considered middle income (and, yes, there ARE many countries in Africa now considered middle income) qualified NOT for free vaccines, but for reduced price vaccines. These countries still had to – and did – pay for them. With domestic financing. At the same time as countries in North America and Europe. And yet…their orders have not been filled and will not be filled anytime soon.

    Why? Because, sorry, a lot of what is happening IS, in fact, hoarding. US, Canada, and the UK purchased vaccines at 3x – 5x the amount of their population. This does not mean that they simply stockpiled actual existing vaccines to be on the safe side. They fenced off production runs. So it is not a simple matter of, say, the Biden administration setting aside 20 million vaccines in a warehouse somewhere to ship off somewhere else. Even if these vaccines actually existed, they are likely nearing expiry date anyway and will be destroyed. The bigger issue, however, is that they don’t exist. What is also being hoarded is the means by which they might exist. Months and months of ghost vaccines hoarded.

    Having inequality and injustice called out shouldn’t ever feel threatening. Nobody is blaming American citizens for taking advantage of vaccination. The world is better off if more people get vaccinated. I am truly happy and grateful that my parents and brother have the vaccine in their arms. The issue is rather that Americans apparently are unaware of the situation elsewhere, and not particularly clued in to how covid vaccine politics are working. And that – speaking as an American overseas – is super unfortunate.

    People on this side of the pond are not going to forget what happened with this. They will remember that they offered up their bodies for experimentation and were left with nothing. They will remember empty promises. They will remember when China and Russia rolled up to help when no one else came through. They will remember the variants that – quite frankly – started when certain countries failed to control their situation (so that all the work that a country like Kenya put into the first year of the virus…the temp checks, the masks, the restrictions, the school closures…ultimately came to naught). They won’t forget. Many Americans either don’t understand this…or maybe don’t care…or maybe don’t realize it matters? But it will one day.

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