Cooperate to Stop Covid Now - or Pay a Steep Price

Ending the Covid-19 pandemic is a solvable problem - but it requires global action - now! That is the urgent message from the heads of four multinational organizations:  the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization. The four leaders authored the guest column below, as seven industrial powers, known as the G7 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - prepare to meet in the UK next week. 


The message is one that the WHO and infectious disease experts around the world have been repeating relentlessly since the hope of vaccines became a reality. That record-time achievement was the result of massive public funding to vaccine developers in the private sector and to governments and academic institutions - and made possible by ordinary people in countries like South Africa, who received vaccinations in trials to demonstrate their safety and effectiveness. But only a fraction of one percent of vaccine doses have gone to low-income countries.

The authors of the guest column stress that providing every country with adequate supplies for testing, tracing and treatment of Covid-19 - as well as sufficient vaccine doses - is not only the right thing to do but is in every country's self interest. The alarming proliferation of more transmissible variants cannot be stopped without 'vaccine equity', and the global leaders say the cost of containing the pandemic quickly is dwarfed by the enormous costs - and the unforeseeable consequences - of not doing so.

Kristalina Georgieva IMF), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO), David Malpass (World Bank) and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (WTO)

The demand for vaccination quickly outstripped supply after Rwanda received its first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine in March. The government plans to vaccinate 30% of the population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022.”

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