Global Equitable Access to Covid-19 Vaccines Expected to Generate Economic Benefits

    Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 04 December 2020 10:50 WIB
    Global Equitable Access to Covid-19 Vaccines Expected to Generate Economic Benefits
    Illustration (Photo:Medcom.id)
    Jakarta: Newly-published data finds that leaving low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs) without access to vaccines amid the covid-19 pandemic will cause significant economic damage that puts decades of economic progress at risk – for both LLMICs and advanced economies alike. 

    Published on Thursday, the report by the Eurasia Group analyses ten major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States – to assess the economic benefits to advanced economies of contributing to the work of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

    The ACT Accelerator, led by WHO and partnering with the world’s leading international health organizations, is a unique global collaboration which supports the development and equitable distribution of the tests, treatments and vaccines the world needs to fight covid-19. 

    However, the programme still has a significant funding gap of US$28.2 billion – with US$ 4.3 billion needed urgently to fast-track critical areas of work. 

    If that shortfall isn’t met, low- and low-middle income countries will have delayed access to these vital tools in 2021, which will result in a protracted pandemic, with severe economic consequences, not just for these countries by also for the wider global economy.  

    The report, which was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, finds that the economic benefits of a global equitable vaccine solution alone for the 10 countries included in the analysis would be at least US$ 153 billion in 2020-21, rising to US$ 466 billion by 2025. This is more than 12 times the US$ 38 billion estimated total cost of the ACT Accelerator. This figure was compiled using the expected negative effects of sustained coronavirus outbreaks in LLMICs, based on the downside and baseline scenarios of the IMF’s October 2020 World Economic Outlook forecasts.

    So far, the 10 countries featured in the report have contributed $2.4 billion to the work of the ACT Accelerator, with the United Kingdom committing just over US$ 1 billion, and Germany, Canada, Japan and France committing US$ 618 million, US$ 290 million, US$ 229 million and US$ 147 million respectively.

    In just seven months, the ACT Accelerator’s progress has been significant: over 50 diagnostic tests have been evaluated and new rapid antigen diagnostics have been developed and being made available for LMICs; life-saving Dexamethasone treatments are being rolled out, research into monoclonal antibody treatments is advancing; and through the Health Systems Connector, the health system requirements for delivery of covid-19 tools have been mapped in 4 out of 6 world regions.

    "The ACT Accelerator is the global solution to ending the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible by ensuring equitable access to covid-19 tools. Contributing to the ACT Accelerator it is not just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing for all countries – socially, economically and politically," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a press release on Thursday.

    COVAX, the Vaccines Pillar of the ACT Accelerator, has the world’s largest and most diverse portfolio of vaccines. It aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of covid-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every participating country. Working with 189 countries, COVAX is supporting the development of 9 vaccine candidates through CEPI, 8 of which are in clinical trials. COVAX has secured hundreds of millions of doses of three promising candidates, including at least 200 million doses for LICs, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    (WAH)

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