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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sees how a dose of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca Covid 19 vaccine is prepared for a mobile vaccination center on January 25, 2021 in London.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sees how a dose of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca Covid 19 vaccine is prepared for a mobile vaccination center on January 25, 2021 in London. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau—WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Report Warns 'Vaccine Nationalism' of Rich Nations Could Cost Global Economy Over $9 Trillion

"Truly, no one is safe until everyone is safe."

Jake Johnson

In addition to endangering the health and lives of millions of people in developing nations, coronavirus vaccine hoarding by rich countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom also poses a significant threat to the global economy, potentially causing worldwide income losses of up to $9.2 trillion USD.

"A people's vaccine is in everyone's interests. Time for pharmaceutical companies and governments to step up."
—The People's Vaccine Alliance

That's according to a report out Monday titled The Economic Case for Global Vaccinations (pdf), a comprehensive analysis showing the dramatic economic benefits of "funding multilateral efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines"—and the likely massive costs of failing to do so, for both rich and poor nations.

Commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Research Foundation, the 64-page report warns that given the interconnectedness of the modern global economy, wealthy countries that have the ability to adequately vaccinate their populations will still suffer major financial losses due to the pandemic "if infection continues to spread unabated in emerging markets."

"The longer we wait to provide vaccines, tests, and treatments to all countries, the faster the virus will take hold, the potential for more variants will emerge, the greater the chance today's vaccines could become ineffective, and the harder it will be for all countries to recover," Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said in response to the new report.

"Truly," Tedros added, "no one is safe until everyone is safe."

Compared to the trillions of dollars in economic losses rich nations could face as a result of their "vaccine nationalism," the ICC-commissioned report estimates that the cost of facilitating sufficient production and worldwide distribution of existing coronavirus vaccines would be relatively small—around $38 billion USD. 

"We are all not safe if some countries are vaccinating their people and other countries are not vaccinating."
—South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

"The new year presents us with an opportunity to correct course—to consign vaccine nationalism to the past and ensure multilateral efforts have the funding and support necessary to succeed," ICC Secretary-General John W.H. Denton AO said in a statement. "As this study shows, ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines is not only the right thing to do—to do otherwise is economically irresponsible."

In an analysis released last month, The People's Vaccine Alliance (PVA) estimated that 90% of people in nearly 70 low-income countries are unlikely to be inoculated in 2021 due to vaccine hoarding by wealthy countries, which quickly bought up much of the initial supply of doses.

Pointing to the ICC study, PVA declared in a tweet Monday that "a people's vaccine is in everyone's interests."

"Time for pharmaceutical companies and governments to step up," the coalition said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a similar call to action during a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, declaring that "we all must act together in combating the virus."

"The rich countries of the world went out and acquired large doses of vaccines," said Ramaphosa. "Some countries even acquired up to four times what their population needs. We are all not safe if some countries are vaccinating their people and other countries are not vaccinating."

Late last week, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech announced an agreement to sell up to 40 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine to COVAX, a global vaccination initiative led by the WHO and other organizations.

Niko Lusiani, senior adviser with Oxfam America, said in a statement Monday that while the deal is a step in the right direction, "it is woefully insufficient and will be barely leave a dent in our goal of ending this pandemic."

"Forty million doses will indeed be lifesaving for the 20 million people who will receive protection," said Lusiani. "But Pfizer's deal with COVAX would supply less than one half of one percent of the five billion people living in low- and middle-income countries... Meanwhile, the U.S., with only 4% of the world's population, has already called dibs on over 50% of the Pfizer's total expected supply in 2021."


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'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

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'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

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