Home >News >World >‘Low-income countries can add $38 bn to GDP in ’21 with vaccine equity’

Low-income countries would add $38 billion (about 2.8 trillion) to their gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for 2021 if they had the same vaccination rate as high-income countries, showed new data released on Thursday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Oxford.

The insights come from the global dashboard for covid-19 vaccine equity, a joint initiative from UNDP, the WHO and the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, which combines the latest information on covid-19 vaccination with the most recent socio-economic data to illustrate why accelerating vaccine equity is not only critical to saving lives but also driving a faster and fairer recovery from the pandemic with benefits for all. The joint report also said the global economic recovery is at risk if vaccines are not equitably manufactured, scaled up and distributed.

Covid-19 vaccine inequity will have a lasting and profound impact on socio-economic recovery in low- and lower-middle-income countries without urgent action to boost supply and assure equitable access for every country, including through dose sharing, the report said.

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 that vaccines are distributed equitably, and a truly global economic recovery can take place, the joint report said.

A high price per covid-19 vaccine dose relative to other vaccines and delivery costs could put a huge strain on fragile health systems, undermine routine immunization and essential health services, and cause alarming measles spikes, pneumonia and diarrhoea. There is also a clear risk in terms of forgone opportunities for the expansion of other immunization services such as the safe and effective roll-out of HPV vaccines. Lower-income countries need timely access to sustainably priced vaccines and timely financial support, it said.

“In some low- and middle-income countries, less than 1% of the population is vaccinated—this is contributing to a two-track recovery from the covid-19 pandemic," said UNDP administrator Achim Steiner. “It’s time for swift, collective action—this new c ovid-19 vaccine equity dashboard will provide governments, policymakers and international organizations with unique insights to accelerate the global delivery of vaccines and mitigate the devastating socio-economic impacts of the pandemic," Steiner said.

According to the new Dashboard, which builds on data from entities including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Unicef and Gavi, rich countries are projected to vaccinate quicker and recover economically faster from covid-19, while poor countries haven’t even been able to vaccinate their health workers and most at-risk populations and may not achieve pre-covid-19 levels of growth until 2024.

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