A Safer World after Vaccination against COVID-19, Government Responses and Health Outcomes: A Comparative Study

Main Article Content

Johnston H. C. Wong Ghee W. Ho Harry L. X. He


During the first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, world governments were split between the herd immunity strategy and that of strict social distancing. Health outcomes of 14 countries analyzed revealed unexpectedly high levels of deaths due to the disease, particularly among those countries which relaxed control as early as April 2020. Public health experts predicted that the COVID-19 Pandemic, though mutated into Delta, would come to an end in mid-2021 when vaccination became available. Unfortunately, the situation was more complicated and disappointing as the coronavirus mutated further into another generation. Omicron spread faster but was less fatal than the Delta, some early records showed. Some countries therefore have declared that the Pandemic was over while China, sticking to its zero infection policy, was still fighting to contain the Omicron variant. As Hong Kong has lost 3875 lives in the spring of 2022, a similar death rate projected for China would be astronomical. In China, the public health crisis has been prolonged, policies of social distancing remain upheld, and international doors cannot be opened. This study reviewed government responses and health performances of 14 countries in 2020, 2021, and early 2022. The 3 periods were characterized by the impact of COVID-19, Delta, and Omicron. Major indicators analyzed include data from Government Responses and Stringency Index developed by Oxford Tracker and health data provided by the WHO and John Hopkins University. Effects on economies and health care financing, mostly reported by the Economist Intelligence Unit, were also discussed.

Keywords: Social Distancing Stringency, COVID-19 mutations, Government Emergency Responses, Public Health Crisis

Article Details

How to Cite
WONG, Johnston H. C.; HO, Ghee W.; HE, Harry L. X.. A Safer World after Vaccination against COVID-19, Government Responses and Health Outcomes: A Comparative Study. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 8, aug. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/2987>. Date accessed: 30 may 2023. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v10i8.2987.
Research Articles


[1] The Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology Team. The Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) — China, 2020 [J]. China CDC Weekly, 2020, 2(8): 113-122. doi: 10.46234/ccdcw2020.032
[2] World Health Organization. Rolling Updates on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Updated July 30, 2020. (2020a) Extracted from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen
[3] John Hopkins University. COVID-19 Map. Coronavirus Resource Center. (2020a) Available from: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html.
[4] Wang, X. Y. WHO expert speaks out on China epidemic response. China Daily, 2020-02-25. Extracted from: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202002/25/WS5e54f1baa31012821727a3a1.html
[5] Tian, Wei. "How China managed the COVID-19 pandemic." Asian Economic Papers 20, no. 1 (2021): 75-101.
[6] Pan, A., Liu, L., Wang, C., Guo, H., Hao, X., & Wang, Q. Association of public health interventions with the epidemiology of the covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 323(19). 2020.
[7] Mills, S. (2020): COVID-19, Public Health Measures, Legal Considerations: A Medical Perspective, Judicial Review, DOI: 10.1080/10854681.2020.1760575 Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10854681.2020.1760575
[8] Johns Hopkins University. Bloomberg School of Public Health, Inaugural Global Health Security Index Finds Significant Gaps in Preparedness for Epidemics and Pandemics. Oct 24, 2019. Available from:
[9] Oxford University. Coronavirus Government Response Tracker. 2020. Available from: https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/research/research-projects/coronavirus-government-response-tracker.
[10] Wong, H. C. J. Government Emergency Responses During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Context of Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management: A Comparative Study. In Zhao, X. S., Wong, H. C. J., Monaco, E., Lowe, C. & Corbett, J. ed., COVID-19 Pandemic, Crisis Responses and the Changing World Perspectives in Humanities and Social Sciences, Springer Nature, Singapore. 2021.
[11]Meek, A. My fingers are crossed that this prediction from Dr. Fauci comes true. CNN, October 29th, 2020 at 12:41 AM
[12] China Daily Global, 2020-12-17. COVID-19 vaccines 'not a silver bullet': WHO. https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202012/17/WS5fdb0eb4a31024ad0ba9c6ed.html
[13] Xinhuanet. New Delta variant mutation of COVID-19 confirmed in Japan. 2020-08-31. Available from: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-08/31/c_1310159349.htm
[14] World Health Organization. (2020b). WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Available at: https://portal.who.int/report/eios-covid19-counts/#display=Countries_and_Territories&nrow=2&ncol=3&arr=row&pg=1&labels=cur_death_who&sort=cur_death_who;desc&filter=&sidebar=4&fv=cur_death_who
[15] Ritchie, H., Mathieu, E., Rodés-Guirao, L., Appel, C., Giattino, C., Ortiz-Ospina, E., Hasell, J., Macdonald, B., Beltekian, D., & Roser, M.. Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). OurWorldInData.org. 2020. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus
[16] Fauci, A. Fauci says herd immunity could require nearly 90% to get coronavirus vaccine. GMA Network, December 25, 2020 2:41am. Available from: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/world/769337/fauci-says-herd-immunity-could-require-nearly-90-to-get-coronavirus-vaccine/story/
[17] World Health Organization. (2020d). Considerations in adjusting public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19 Interim guidance. Available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331773/WHO-2019-nCoV-Adjusting_PH_measures-2020.1-eng.pdf
[18] Hale, T. et al. (2020a). Lockdown rollback checklist: Do countries meet WHO recommendations for rolling back lockdown? University of Oxford, Blavatnik School of Government, Working Paper Version 4.0, June 1, 2020. Available at: https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2020-06/Lockdown%20Rollback%20Checklist%20v4.pdf
[19] GMA Network (2020-12-25). Fauci says herd immunity could require nearly 90% to get coronavirus vaccine. Available from: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/world/769337/fauci-says-herd-immunity-could-require-nearly-90-to-get-coronavirus-vaccine/story/
[20] Rose, J. (2020) COVID-19 will mutate what does it mean to a vaccine? Healthline, Available from:
[21] Trent, M., Seale, H., Chughtai, A. A., Salmon, D., & MacIntyre, C. R. Trust in government, intention to vaccinate and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: A comparative survey of five large cities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Vaccine, 40(17), 2498-2505. 2022.
[22] Owusu, G. Fighting the Invisible Enemy—COVID-19: How Ghana Fared. In COVID-19 Pandemic, Crisis Responses and the Changing World. 2021. (pp. 173-187). Springer, Singapore.
[23] Loomba, Sahil, Alexandre de Figueiredo, Simon J. Piatek, Kristen de Graaf, and Heidi J. Larson. "Measuring the impact of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on vaccination intent in the UK and USA." Nature human behaviour 5, no. 3 (2021): 337-348.