Donate to Science & Enterprise

S&E on Mastodon

S&E on LinkedIn

S&E on Flipboard

Please share Science & Enterprise

Trade, Finance, Health Groups Urge Vaccine Boost

Vaccine vials

(ulleo, Needpix)

2 June 2021. The leaders of four international economic and health organizations call for a $50 billion investment to ensure faster vaccinations in all parts of the world. The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Health Organization, and World Trade Organization argue their case in a joint statement released yesterday to newspapers worldwide.

The global organization leaders — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organization, David Malpass of the World Bank, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization, and Kristalina Georgieva of the International Monetary Fund — warn that the current trends point to a two-track pandemic response, where rich nations have access to Covid-19 vaccines, and the rest of the world is left behind. Not only is the two-track response making millions of people in lower resource regions more vulnerable to the virus, say the authors, but it allows more dangerous variants to evolve and emerge, threatening all parts of the world and causing serious economic dislocations.

“It need not be this way,” says the statement. “That is why we are calling today for a new level of international support for, and implementation of, a stepped up coordinated strategy, backed by new financing, to vaccinate the world.”

A prudent international investment

The four organization heads urge governments to adopt an International Monetary Fund staff proposal released in May with a roadmap for defeating the pandemic. The IMF plan calls for vaccinating at least 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2021 and 60 percent by the middle of 2022. The paper also points out the need for diversifying and boosting production by 1 billion doses by early 2022, as well as increasing genomic surveillance and supply chain monitoring to guard against emerging viral variants and supply chain interruptions. And the proposal recommends strengthening the global public health care support structure with widespread testing and tracing and adequate supplies of therapies.

The organization leaders say this plan can be funded with $50 billion in grants, from national governments and development banks, including the World Bank that already has a $12 billion loan program for vaccinating poorer countries. The IMF is also preparing an increase in Special Drawing Rights, a program for supplementing member nations’ financial reserves to increase their liquidity. However, say the authors, the financing needs to be done quickly and transparently, with all funds provided in tandem.

The funds are expected to increase vaccine stocks of the Covax facility, short for Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access, backed by World Health Organization, European Union, and several non-government organizations. Covax seeks to provide worldwide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, designed and led by a group called Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The plan would also benefit World Health Organization’s Access to Covid-19 Tools, or ACT-Accelerator, a collaboration to speed development, production, and access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

The organization heads say the $50 billion is a prudent investment, calling it “potentially the best use of public money we will see in our lifetimes. It will pay a huge development dividend and boost growth and well-being globally.” In addition to reducing infections and saving lives, say the authors citing IMF estimates, the investment will “accelerate the economic recovery, and generate some $9 trillion in additional global output by 2025.”

More from Science & Enterprise:

*     *     *

Comments are closed.