Scott Morrison's pledge that Australians would be at "the front of the queue" for COVID-19 vaccines has been smashed by new world rankings that put us on a par with Botswana according to one measure and 76th out of 152 countries in another.

Israel has emerged as the clear winner in the race to vaccinate its citizens with more than half of its population already receiving at least one dose of vaccine, and more than a third having received both doses.

But Australia is languishing compared to other countries including those in our region such as Indonesia and Singapore.

According to Our World in Data figures Australia ranks second last in all the countries analysed and sits below Ecuador on a par with Botswana.

But the Morrison Government argues these figures are not up to date and the more respected analysis is the work of the Financial Times.

But rather than putting Australia at the "front of the queue" the FT figures put Australia at the 76th country in the queue of 152 countries where data was analysed on the vaccine rollout.

Australia and Botswana are on par. Source: Financial Times
Australia and Botswana are on par. Source: Financial Times

According to the FT analysis of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout the top 20 nations at the "front of the queue" are instead Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Chile, Bhutan, UK, Bahrain, Maldives, Malta, Serbia, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Uruguay, Singapore, Estonia, Lithuania, Iceland, Morocco, Austria and Barbados.

On the FT ranking Australia comes in at 76th out of a ranking of 152 countries across the globe. Australia has vaccinated 4.5 people for every 100 citizens, compared to Rwanda, for example, that has vaccinated 2.8 people and Israel that has given 100 per cent of the population at least the first jab.

Australia ranks in a group of countries including Bangladesh, Bolivia and the Palestinian Territories. However, New Zealand's rollout is still substantially behind Australia in terms of doses administered for every 100 people.

Countries that rank better than Australia for the vaccine rollout in the FT ranking include Cambodia, India, Mauritius, Colombia, Nepal, Indonesia, Jordan, Guyana, São Tomé and Príncipe.

The PM has scrapped Australia’s vaccine target. Picture: Gary Ramage/NCA NewsWire
The PM has scrapped Australia’s vaccine target. Picture: Gary Ramage/NCA NewsWire

The shock rankings follow a warning from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today that she feared Australia was getting left behind in the race to vaccinate.

"At the moment what we're trying to ascertain is exactly how many doses we're going to get," she said.

"It has been lumpy, as I've said. Some weeks we get more than we anticipated, other weeks we get less. I know that some people don't think there is a sense of urgency because we're doing so well, but things can change very quickly and I don't want to see our citizens left behind because the rest of the world starts trading with each other, starts travelling. I do have a sense of urgency about it."

On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced he was dumping his target of getting the majority of Australians vaccinated by the end of the year due to "uncertainties" surrounding vaccine imports and medical advice.

The PM will no longer commit to a timetable on when most Australians are vaccinated, a necessary step to reopen international borders and relax hotel quarantine requirements.

"The Government has also not set, nor has any plans to set any new targets for completing first doses," he said.

"While we would like to see these doses completed before the end of the year, it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved. We will just get on with the job of working together to produce, distribute and administer the vaccines as safely and efficiently as possible. These daily data reports will enable Australians to be kept informed of the progress.

"You will also be able to see how we are comparing to other countries, at the same stage of their roll out. The latest data shows that Australia's vaccination program is advancing consistent with comparable countries such as Germany, and ahead of Canada, Sweden, France, NZ, South Korea and Japan at the same stage of their rollouts.

"At the end of this past week, it's also important to note that more than 142,000 doses have been administered to our aged care residents, in more than 1,000 facilities, with over 46,000 of these now being second doses in over 500 facilities."

The Morrison Government's vaccine rollout has been hit by the revised medical advice over the AstraZeneca vaccine that it is not the preferred option for under 50s.

This decision was made because younger Australians are less likely to die from COVID if they contract it making the rare risk of a blood clot from the vaccine a higher risk from COVID, according to some experts.

Originally published as Australia smashed in vaccine rankings

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