Vaccine Roll-Outs Are Expensive – But Not Vaccinating the World Would Cost $9 Trillion

Mandatory Credit: Photo by GEORGI LICOVSKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11745943a)A woman wearing a protective mask and a hairnet walks in front of the University Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia, 04 February 2021.
GEORGI LICOVSKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / GEORGI LICOVSKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

When we think about the cost of coronavirus vaccinations and the need for widespread immunity, we often think first about preventing disease and avoiding deaths. But not vaccinating individuals across the globe has a high financial price, too. 

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And it’s a problem we’ll have to face sooner rather than later if wealthier nations such as the U.S. and the U.K. don’t step up to help emerging nations improve their vaccination rates. 

More than 4.5 million doses of approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca were administered each day across the globe last week, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker. But 40% of those went to folks in the U.S. and the U.K., Bloomberg states. 

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On the other hand, only a handful of countries in Africa have administered any vaccines at all, and the same goes for nations in Central Asia and Central America, Bloomberg says. 

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In addition to the issue of mutations of the COVID-19 virus spreading across borders more rapidly without widespread vaccinations, low vaccination rates in emerging countries can have a dire impact on the global economy. 

The International Chamber of Commerce ICC Research Foundation discovered that the global economy could lose $9.2 trillion if wealthier countries don’t work together to ensure vaccinations across the world. The study also shows that a $27.2 billion investment by advanced economies in the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator program could result in a return as high as 166 times the investment. Countries like the U.S., that rely heavily on international trade as part of their economy, stand to benefit the most. 

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The ACT-Accelerator program was launched by the World Health Organization and its partners in April 2020 to support the rapid development and distribution of tools to fight the pandemic — tools that include, but aren’t limited to, vaccines, tests and treatments. 

Bloomberg reported that annual global economic growth for 2021 could be under 2% — less than half of the World Bank’s 4% projection. 

“An unchecked virus outbreak means emerging economies will continue to underperform in the long term. The virus could compound other [emerging market] problems and the pre-pandemic stagnation may continue,” Bloomberg economists Ziad Daoud and Scott Johnson said in a note.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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