Covid-19 vaccine inequity to cost global economy Dh8.44 trillion: Report
Rich countries have administered 100 times as many vaccines as poorer states have, the EIU said
The unequal distribution and delays in inoculating the world against Covid-19 will come with a high price tag, costing the global economy $2.3 trillion, says a new research report.
According to the new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), those countries that will not have 60 per cent of their population vaccinated by mid-2022 will register GDP losses totalling $2.3 trillion (Dh8.44 trillion) by 2025.
Around 60 per cent of the population of high-income countries have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine at present. In contrast, vaccination campaigns are progressing at a glacial pace in low-income economies as only 1 per cent of the poorer population have received at least one dose of vaccine. This means, rich countries have administered 100 times as many vaccines as poorer states have, the EIU said.
The report said global shortage of raw materials and limited capacities, especially in developing countries, are some of the key reasons for the delays in production of Covid-19 vaccine.
According to Our World in Data, 2.55 billion people had received Covid-19 vaccines worldwide by August 23. Around 1.92 billion were partly vaccinated and 630.17 million fully vaccinated against the pandemic.
The EIU study projected that sub-Saharan Africa would lose 2.9 per cent of its GDP between 2022 and 2025, followed by 1.4 per cent by the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), 0.3 per cent by Latin America, 1.3 per cent by Asia-Pacific and 0.1 per cent by Eastern Europe.
“Emerging countries will shoulder around two-thirds of these losses, further delaying their economic convergence with more developed countries… In absolute terms, Asia will be, by far, the most severely affected continent with cumulative projected losses of $1.7 trillion,” said the report.
“As a share of GDP, countries in sub-Saharan Africa will register the highest losses totalling three per cent of the region’s forecast GDP in 2022-25.”
The study pointed out that despite generous promises, donations from rich countries are often not even delivered. To date, the UK has delivered only around 10 per cent of the 100 million doses it has promised to donate to developing countries by mid-2022. The US will start the widespread administration of third doses of vaccines in September.
It warned that tourism flows could also be re-routed as unvaccinated people are often barred from entering vaccinated countries or are forced to quarantine for long periods of time upon arrival.
The study advised that the future endemic nature of the virus means that some governments will have to revisit their public health strategies.
“The zero-Covid approach that several countries, including Australia, China and New Zealand have adopted, is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. Such policies represent a future missed economic opportunity if the rest of the world re-opens, as they imply the imposition of stringent lockdowns as soon as any cases of coronavirus are detected,” it added.
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