Covid Vaccine

The world’s leaders in the health and finance sectors have once again reiterated the essentiality of an effective vaccine system world-wide.

On Monday, in comments to the Guardian, chief of the World Bank David Malpass warned that vaccine access in poorer countries is holding back the global fight against the COVID pandemic. 

According to Mr Malpass, the fact that so many vaccines are going to rich countries will hinder the global fight against COVID.

His comments come in the wake of a World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Friday revealing that despite further donations to the ACT Accelerator (Access to COVID Tools Accelerator) amounting to $4.3 billion (€3.54 billion), a funding gap of nearly $23 billion (€18.92 billion) remains to fully fund its work in 2021.

The WHO has been a steady proponent for the promotion of equity in the assigning of tools to fight the virus, including, importantly the vaccine.

As things stand, the WHO has emphasised that the global vaccine program has failed to be accessible to poorer nations. In February, the organisation revealed that “of the 128 million vaccine doses administered so far, more than three quarters of those vaccinations are in just 10 countries that account for 60 per cent of global GDP”.

As of 10th February, almost 130 countries, with 2.5 billion people, were yet to administer a single dose of the vaccine.

The costs of “vaccine nationalism” could be dramatic, both in terms of its health implications and its financial ones.

A study by the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation found vaccine inequality could cost the global economy up to $9.2 trillion (€7.53 trillion), and that almost half of that – $4.5 trillion (€3.7 trillion) – would be incurred in the wealthiest economies.  

However, Mr Malpass and other leader differ in their opinions with regards to money. Mr Malpass believes that it is not “a shortage of money, but supply constraints that are the problem”, whereas Peter Sands, who leads the Global Fund to provide financial support against health crises believes the sharing of resources globally is “important to ensure equitable access to tests, treatments, vaccines and PPE to defeat COVID”.

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