Project Syndicate
Ending “Trickle-Down” Vaccine Economics

Expanding global vaccination to recover the economy

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK, publishes an article in Project Syndicate to advocate for better access to vaccines globally, as the current distribution of vials is "ethically indefensible" and is "epidemiologically short-sighted and economically ruinous”.

Among the highlights of the article would be:

  • The current distribution of vaccines is "epidemiologically short-sighted and economically ruinous". The risk of having large segments of the population unvaccinated may lead to the emergence of new, more vaccine-resistant Covid-19 mutations.
  • Expanding vaccinations would reduce major setbacks in poverty, health and education, boosting economic recovery. Up to $9 trillion would be added to global output by 2025 according to the International Monetary Fund.
  • Basic arithmetic shows that everyone can be vaccinated. According to Airfinity, a data analytics firm, 12 billion vaccines will be produced in 2021 and this production will double by 2022. For Watkins this is "more than enough to achieve the international target of 40% coverage by the end of this year and 60-70% by mid-2022."
  • The CEO of Save the Children UK lists three priorities that should be met to achieve more equitable access to vaccines and fight Covid-19 more effectively:
    - Vaccine distribution must be aligned with the goal of 40% coverage in all countries by the end of this year. Rich countries need to adjust their schedules to allow vaccine manufacturers to ship vaccines to developing countries and COVAX.
    - Large-scale, internationally coordinated dose distribution. The EU, the United Kingdom, and the US should immediately share additional 250 million doses –less than one-quarter of their collective surplus– through COVAX by the end of September”.
    - Strengthen health systems through investments in material, human capital and infrastructure. Investments in health systems are also necessary “to get vaccines into arms."

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