Let’s invest $ 50 billion to end the pandemic. This is the best use of public money the world will see in our lifetime
With preparations underway for the G7 summit in the UK next week, the priority is how to end the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure global recovery. Urgent challenges await us.
By now, it has become perfectly clear that there will be no large-scale recovery without an end to the health crisis. Access to immunization is essential for both.
Impressive progress has been made on the vaccination front. Scientists have developed several vaccines in record time. Unprecedented public and private funding has supported research, development and the development of vaccine manufacturing. But a dangerous divide between the richest and the poorest nations persists.
In fact, even as some rich countries are already discussing the roll-out of booster injections to their populations, the vast majority of people in developing countries – even frontline health workers – still have not received their first injection. . The most underserved countries are low-income countries that have received less than 1 percent of the vaccines given so far.
Increasingly, a two-way pandemic is growing, with the richest countries having access to it and the poorest being left behind.
The inequitable distribution of vaccines not only leaves millions of people vulnerable to the virus. It also allows lethal variants to emerge and ricochet across the world. As variants continue to spread, even countries with advanced vaccination programs have been forced to re-impose more stringent public health measures, and some have put travel restrictions in place. In turn, the ongoing pandemic is leading to a growing divergence of economic fortunes, with negative consequences for all.
It doesn’t have to be that way. That is why we are calling today for a new level of international support for – and for the implementation – of a strengthened coordinated strategy, backed by new funding, to immunize the world.
A recent IMF proposal the staff come up with a plan with clear objectives, pragmatic actions and at an achievable cost. It builds on and supports the ongoing work of WHO, its partners in the Access to the COVID-19 Tool Accelerator (ACT) initiative and its global program for access to COVAX vaccines, as well as the work of World Bank Group, the WTO and many more.
Estimated at $ 50 billion, it will end the pandemic faster in developing countries, reduce infections and loss of life, accelerate economic recovery and generate some $ 9 trillion in additional global production by 2025. It is a victory for all. – while about 60 percent of the gains will go to emerging markets and developing economies, the remaining 40 percent will go to the developed world. And this without taking into account the invaluable benefits to people’s health and lives.
What does this imply?
First, increase our ambition and vaccinate more people faster: WHO and its COVAX partners have set themselves the goal of vaccinating at least 30% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021. But it may even be reach 40% through other agreements and investment, and at least 60% by the first half of 2022.
This requires additional funding for low- and middle-income countries, with a very large share in the form of grants and concessional finance. To urgently obtain more vaccines in arms, the doses must be immediately given to developing countries, synchronized with national vaccine deployment plans, in particular via COVAX. Trade cooperation is also necessary to ensure free cross-border movement and to increase supplies of raw materials and finished vaccines.
Second, insure against downside risks such as new variants that may require callbacks. This means investing in additional vaccine production capacity of at least one billion doses, diversifying production in regions with current low capacity, sharing technology and know-how, stepping up genomic and chain surveillance. supply and contingency plans to manage viral mutations or supply shocks.
All obstacles to the expansion of supply must be removed and we call on WTO members to speed up negotiations for a pragmatic solution around intellectual property. A number of low- and middle-income countries are also taking steps to invest in their own local manufacturing capacity, which is critical not only to end this pandemic, but to prepare for the next.
Third, immediately stimulate testing and tracing, oxygen supply, therapeutic and public health measures, while accelerating vaccine deployment and the ACT-Accelerator initiative. WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank and Gavi have conducted vaccine readiness assessments in more than 140 developing countries and provided support and funding on the ground to prepare for vaccine deployment.
What about the cost?
Of the $ 50 billion, there is a strong case for subsidies of at least $ 35 billion. G20 governments have sent positive signals, recognizing the importance of providing approximately $ 22 billion in additional funding by 2021 to ACT-Accelerator.
Additional funding of about $ 13 billion is needed to increase vaccine supply in 2022 and further scale up testing, therapy and surveillance. The remainder of the overall financing plan – around $ 15 billion – could come from national governments backed by multilateral development banks, including the $ 12 billion from the World Bank. financial facility for vaccination.
For the plan to work, there are two additional requirements: speed and coordination.
He calls for in the front funding, in the front vaccine donations, and in the front investments and precautionary planning – rather than commitments that may take a long time to materialize. It is essential that all of this be made available as soon as possible.
It also requires coordinated, fully grounded global action. transparency in the procurement and delivery process. The success of the strategy depends on all parties – public, private, international financial institutions, foundations – working in tandem.
Investing $ 50 billion to end the pandemic is potentially the best use of public funds that we will see in our lifetimes. It will pay a huge development dividend and drive global growth and well-being. But the window of opportunity is closing quickly – the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes, in human suffering and economic loss.
On behalf of our four organizations, we are announcing today a new commitment to work together to increase needed funding, boost manufacturing, and ensure the smooth flow of vaccines and raw materials across borders to dramatically increase access. vaccines to support the health response and economic recovery, and provide necessary hope.
Our institutions are mobilizing to make this hope a reality:
The IMF is preparing an unprecedented Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation to increase the reserves and liquidity of its members. WHO is seeking to identify funding so that the urgent needs of its Strategic preparedness and response plan and the ACT-Accelerator partnership can be met, with Covid-19 technology access pool (C-TAP) encourage the sharing of know-how and technology. The World Bank will launch vaccine projects in at least 50 countries by mid-year – with the International Finance Corporation working to mobilize the private sector to increase vaccine supply to developing countries. And the WTO is working to free up supply chains for the plan to succeed.
Ending the pandemic is a solvable problem that requires global action – now.
Let’s all come together and get the job done.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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