Africa: Ensuring Global Covid-19 Vaccine Access Seen Worth Billions to Rich Nations

London — Ten wealthy countries would see economic gains of up to $466 billion by 2025 if poorer nations get access to coronavirus jabs, analysis shows

Rich nations stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in economic output over the next five years if poorer countries do not get equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, a report said on Thursday as concerns grow about “vaccine nationalism”.

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) seeks to plug funding gaps in its ACT Accelerator programme for global COVID-19 treatments, researchers said their findings showed there was a financial – as well as a moral – case for ensuring equal access.

“Governments are increasingly focusing on investments that can help their own economies to rebound,” said Hassan Damluji, deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which commissioned the report by the Eurasia Group research firm.

“The ACT Accelerator is precisely one of those investments. It is both the right thing to do, and an investment that will pay dividends by bringing the global economy back from the brink, benefiting all nations.”

The ACT Accelerator (Access to COVID-19 Tools) is an international programme working to support the development of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines and ensure they are available around the world.

As nations prepare to roll out mass COVID-19 vaccination programmes, with Britain becoming the first to approve a vaccine for use this week, there has been concern that “vaccine nationalism” could see poorer countries left behind.

The WHO says the programme needs $38 billion – of which about $28 billion is still outstanding, without which lower-income countries will not be able to get prompt access to COVID-19 drugs including vaccines.

Thursday’s report assessed the economic benefits of ensuring swift, equal global access to vaccines to 10 major economies – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.