- From January 3, 2020 to September 29, 2021, there have been 5,517 confirmed cases of COVID with 97 deaths.
- It has administered 79,502 doses, as of September 24, 2021.
- New cases, known as “breakthroughs”, had been reported, but are mostly mild.
- The Rock has reported zero COVID-19 deaths since February 28, 2021.
Gibraltar, a British overseas territory in southern Spain, has emerged as a vaccination champ. It stands today as the most vaccinated place in the world — with a 119% inoculation rate against COVID, according to Our World in Data.
How did it arrive at that figure? It’s not clear, especially since children under the age of 12 are still not eligible to the shots. The territory, however, has a huge number of guest workers from Spain, who were also jabbed.
The Rock (population: 33,679 people) offers a glimpse of post-pandemic life, at least for Europeans. Gibraltarians (aka “Llanitos”), endured a two-month lockdown.
With the Pfizer-BioNTech shots, its health administrators initially rolled out inoculations for all residents 16 or older as well as its vast imported workforce, altogether about 40,000 people, Health Minister Samantha Sacramento told The Associated Press.
33,679population of Gibraltar
Since the pandemic's outbreak, a total of 97 COVID-related deaths were recorded among residents. A closer look at the data, however, reveals something remarkable: all COVID deaths in Gibraltar took place before the vaccination ramp.
From February to June 2021, Gibraltar had nearly no new COVID cases. Vaccinations, meanwhile, had been scaled up. By February 11, some 22,000 vaccine doses had already been administered.
By April 15, there were 66,232 doses — roughly equivalent to about 100% of residents — administered. Still, it was reported that 3.5% of its population rejected vaccinations.
From early July, new cases of the coronavirus started appearing, with 7 fresh COVID cases on July 6; it peaked on July 21 with 43 cases. Since then, case numbers went on a downward slope. On September 28, 2021, it has reported 15 new cases, according to Our World in Data. The vaccine rejection rate, however, further dwindled from 3.5% to just 1.04%.
No new COVID deaths
On Tuesday (September 28), the territory added 15 new cases, bringing the total active cases to 62, with 2 serious cases. One important detail: since February 28, 2021, Gibraltar has reported zero COVID-19-related deaths every single day.
People who get their second shot were issued vaccination cards. Gibraltar is also developing an app storing vaccine data and test results that authorities want to link with other platforms elsewhere to revive international travel, though the move has been seen as discriminatory against people unable to access vaccines, especially in poorer countries.
Epidemiologists will point to Gibraltar to bolster the safety and efficacy profile of vaccines, even if in a microcosm, as they appeal to the sense of reason among the vaccine-hesitant.
Vaccines curb deaths
Gibraltar is a poster place for how widespread vaccination could lead to near pre-pandemic normal. Moreover, the places that had at least 80% of their population fully vaccinated — the UAE, Portugal, Malta, and Spain — haven’t reported a huge spike in deaths; rather, their fatality rates had been kept to a minimum.
In contrast, countries with high vaccine hesitancy co-existing with a powerful anti-vax lobby such as the US — with only 55.09 % of its population fully vaccinated (as of September 28) — has seen a spike in both COVID cases and deaths.
The medical journal BMJ reported that since the delta variant became the dominant strain, unvaccinated Americans have died at 11 times the rate of those fully vaccinated. The US reported 105,633 new COVID cases and 1,836 deaths on September 28, 2021, bringing total fatalities to 711,22, according to worldometers.info. The vast majority of these deaths are people who chose to remain unvaccinated.