IMF says $50bn is needed to end Covid pandemic in 2022

Nations with sufficient jabs could donate a billion doses to vaccinate others, fund says

The $50 billion figure is tiny compared with the $16 trillion that the IMF estimates countries have already spent supporting households and businesses during the pandemic. Photograph: AFP

The $50 billion figure is tiny compared with the $16 trillion that the IMF estimates countries have already spent supporting households and businesses during the pandemic. Photograph: AFP

 

The world could “end the pandemic” in mid-2022 by vaccinating 60 per cent of the population at a cost of $50 billion (€41 billion), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said, as rich countries and vaccine manufacturers pledged to address the inequality undermining the global response to coronavirus.

Countries with sufficient vaccine supplies could afford to donate a billion doses in 2021, even while continuing to prioritise the immunisation of their own populations against Covid-19, the IMF said in its report released at a virtual G20 Health Summit on Friday.

Combined with up-front financing, the vaccine donations would bring a faster end to the pandemic, saving millions of lives and yielding economic benefits of about $9 trillion to global gross domestic product by 2025, it estimated.

“In the absence of urgent actions, many emerging and developing economies may have to wait until the end of 2022 or later to bring the pandemic under control,” the IMF warned. “That will be too late not just for those countries but also for the world.”

The $50 billion figure is tiny compared with the $16 trillion that the IMF estimates countries have already spent supporting households and businesses during the pandemic. But some health experts say the biggest impediments to vaccination drives are not funding but logistics and national politics.

Donate

The IMF proposal was released as Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, told the virtual meeting that the European Union would donate at least 100 million vaccines to poorer countries by the end of the year, including 30 million doses each from Germany and France.

While some countries have begun to celebrate falling infection rates, successful vaccination campaigns and a return to some semblance of normality, global cases of Covid infections are at present at some of the highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

“As we prepare for the next pandemic, our priority must be to ensure that we all overcome the current one together. We must vaccinate the world, and do it fast,” said Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, who hosted the virtual meeting.

Pfizer and BioNTech also pledged to supply a billion cut-price doses to poorer nations in 2021 and a further billion in 2022. The companies’ breakthrough Covid-19 shot has become the mainstay of vaccination campaigns in Europe and the United States. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021