Vaccine inequality is costing tens of billions in lost output

Vaccine inequality is costing tens of billions in lost output

Posted: Jul 23, 2021 6:21 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2021 6:21 AM

Vaccine inequity is undermining a "truly global economic recovery" from Covid-19, according to data released Thursday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Oxford.

The organizations said vaccine inequity would have a "lasting and profound impact" on the recovery in low and lower-middle income countries unless urgent action is taken to ensure every country had sufficient supplies and adequate access.

"At a time when richer countries have paid trillions in stimulus to prop up flagging economies, now is the moment to ensure vaccine doses are shared quickly, all barriers to increasing vaccine manufacturing are removed and financing support is secured so vaccines are distributed equitably and a truly global economic recovery can take place," they said in a statement.

If vaccine manufacturing had been increased, enough doses were shared with poorer countries and they had similar vaccination rates to high-income countries, $38 billion could have been added to those nations' 2021 GDP forecasts, according to the data, which was compiled under the "Global Dashboard for Covid-19 Vaccine Equity."

The statement said a high price for vaccines "could put a huge strain on fragile health systems," affect routine immunizations and essential health services, and cause spikes in diseases like measles, pneumonia and diarrhea.

The Dashboard, which uses data from multiple organizations including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the vaccine alliance Gavi, shows richer countries are projected to vaccinate quicker and recover economically faster.

Meanwhile, poorer countries, some of which haven't even been able to vaccinate their health workers and most at-risk populations, "may not achieve pre-Covid-19 levels of growth until 2024."

As rich countries with high vaccination rates like the US and the UK are beginning to open up, Delta and other coronavirus variants are forcing some countries to reinstate public health measures. Africa is currently facing its worst phase of the pandemic, and in South Africa hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients.

"This is worsening the social, economic and health impact, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized people," the statement from the UNDP, WHO and University of Oxford said.

In Asia, Indonesia has taken over from India as the new epicenter of the pandemic, with hundreds of deaths a day in a country that has a vaccination rate of less than 6%. In Thailand and Myanmar and across much of the continent, cases and deaths have also surged in recent weeks.

CNN data shows dozens of lower-income countries have administered fewer than 10 vaccine doses per 100 people, including Kenya, Bangladesh and Uganda. Some countries have run out or come close to running out of doses.

The joint call to action from the three organizations comes a day after Pfizer announced an agreement to produce its highly effective vaccine in South Africa, a move that could significantly increase access to vaccines across the continent.

Most poorer nations are currently reliant on the COVAX global vaccine distribution initiative, but it has been plagued by supply issues following the suspension of exports from the Serum Institute of India, which is producing a large number of the doses.

"Vaccine inequity is the world's biggest obstacle to ending this pandemic and recovering from Covid-19," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the statement.

"Economically, epidemiologically and morally, it is in all countries' best interest to use the latest available data to make lifesaving vaccines available to all," he added.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
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Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
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Brown147047
Martin139319
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Union107216
Ohio84613
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1524169

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1646591696
Cuyahoga1468932459
Hamilton1056051431
Montgomery742551279
Summit620221111
Lucas56539917
Butler51696718
Stark468601064
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Delaware24263164
Licking24027294
Trumbull22993561
Fairfield22438247
Greene22414326
Medina22149313
Clark19920354
Richland18643292
Portage18073252
Wood17505224
Allen16054279
Miami15627306
Muskingum14890185
Columbiana14153274
Wayne13852271
Tuscarawas12777311
Marion12016180
Scioto11497162
Pickaway11386142
Erie10951184
Ross10614203
Ashtabula9809204
Lawrence9783153
Hancock9741155
Belmont9333209
Geauga9008157
Jefferson8600199
Huron8427143
Union822259
Washington8114144
Sandusky7875151
Athens779579
Knox7766144
Darke7695158
Seneca7405145
Ashland6993130
Auglaize681799
Shelby6540115
Brown640091
Crawford6292130
Defiance6241105
Mercer617893
Fulton605196
Highland602899
Guernsey596371
Madison595678
Logan594596
Clinton585193
Preble5730125
Putnam5354110
Williams530888
Perry519863
Champaign514273
Jackson512473
Ottawa490586
Coshocton488383
Morrow460558
Pike435067
Fayette430363
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Gallia419367
Adams417995
Van Wert374082
Henry366972
Holmes3653125
Hocking357582
Wyandot325262
Carroll304365
Paulding280747
Meigs267251
Monroe216254
Noble201247
Morgan194333
Harrison182646
Vinton167225
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