The cost of nationalistic tendencies to hoard vaccines and prioritize vaccines for their citizenry could lead to a global reduction in gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion, according to the nonprofit think tank Rand Europe. By contrast, the global economic penalty of failing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine would be $3.4 trillion, according to the organization.
The think tank reasoned that the inability to control the virus internationally would extend its economic toll on various economic sectors.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned on Oct. 25 that countries that focus vaccine efforts on their citizens could ultimately prolong the pandemic. The world should aim to “vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries,” Ghebreyesus said in a virtual conference at the World Health Summit in Berlin.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier echoed that sentiment at the World Health Summit in Berlin. COVID-19 is “indifferent to the nationality of its victims. It will continue to overcome every barrier in the future if we do not confront it together,” he said.
Rand Europe concluded that even denying equal access to the vaccine to developing countries could have a global cost of $153 billion a year in GDP terms.
Meanwhile, providing vaccines to lower-income countries would cost an estimated $25 billion.
Rand Europe concluded that the return for every $1 high-income countries invest in distributing vaccines to low-income nations would be $4.8.
“Our findings suggest that there are real economic incentives for the higher income countries to drive vaccine development and distribution to ensure that the rest of the world has access to vaccines as soon as possible,” wrote Marco Hafner or Rand Europe, who was the study’s lead author.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery