Experts from the Spain, the United Kingdom and Africa talk about how their countries are reacting to the COVID-19 vaccines.

COLUMBIA − The first COVID-19 vaccine became available at the end of 2020, while the United States started vaccinating its population on Dec. 13.

The U.S. had a quick start and was able to vaccinate many people in a short period of time, but the vaccination rate has not changed much in the last few months.

Spain and the United Kingdom had a slow start for vaccinations, as the countries started vaccinating people almost a month after the U.S.

Right now, Spain has almost 80% of its population vaccinated, and experts from Spain believe in the next month more people will get vaccinated.

"People in Spain want to get vaccinated," Enrique Bernal-Delgado, senior health services and policy researcher in Spain, said.

Bernal-Delgado also said this is not the first pandemic Spain has experienced, and that's a reason why the population is not scared of getting vaccinations.

"Throughout Spain's history there have been many pandemics, and Spain has survived all of them," Bernal-Delgado said. "This pandemic scares them, that's why they want to get vaccinated."

Mar Quereda moved to Columbia from Spain in January, and her husband Alberto Quereda arrived in Columbia two weeks ago.

Mar Quereda said she arrived when COVID cases in Missouri were very high and seeing doubts about the vaccine confused her.

"It took me by surprise, seeing so many people refusing to get vaccinated... made me realize that things were different from Spain," Mar Quereda said.

"I was shocked," Alberto Quereda said. "I was not expecting a percentage that low."

The UK, like Spain, had a slower start than the U.S. for getting people vaccinated. Right now, COVID rates remain high in the UK.

"There are so many people that do not trust the vaccine and others that do," Ronan Lyons, clinical professor of public health at Swansea University, said. 

Currently, the UK has nearly 70% of its population vaccinated, and Lyons believes the percentage will increase in the next months.

"I think that number will change in the next months because I have seen a change in people. Now more people want to get vaccinated," Lyons said.

Justin Bell, CEO of an African travel company, was born in Kenya and has traveled all over Africa. In recent months, he has lived in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya.

"COVID-19 in those countries is not something the population is worried about," Bell explained.

According to Bell, people in those countries do not have enough information and they cannot educate themselves about the vaccine.

Less than 20% of Zimbabwe's population is vaccinated, and Kenya has less than 5% of its population vaccinated. Tanzania has 1.5% of its population vaccinated. 

"They have other things too worried about, and they do not have enough information to worry about COVID," Bell said.

Tanzania's last governor denied COVID-19 and disagreed with the vaccine. He died in March 2021, after testing positive from COVID-19.

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