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February 17, 2021

Economists call for US to take lead in Covid vaccine roll out

By Paul Dennis

17 February

Economists believe that the US should inject its ambition to combat the global coronavirus crisis, by urging vaccine developers to share their vaccine technology and increase manufacturing capacities to quickly ramp up supply.

Dean Baker, an economist, retweeted an article on the need for US President Joe Biden to mobilise the world community to produce the Covid-19 vaccine.

Experts are of the opinion that allowing further spread and mutation of the virus will pose additional risks to public health and the economies at large.

Citing an example of the bird flu pandemic in 2006, which prompted the US government to teach the world how to make a flu vaccine, experts state that there is a need for the world community to develop more of the coronavirus vaccine.

The Serum Institute of India has warned that the current production of vaccine may not suffice for everyone until 2024.

The US bird flu programme helped scale flu vaccine manufacturing capacity across 13 countries through effective collaboration, technical assistance, and capacity building.

It is hoped that the US government will inject a similar plan to share the vaccine recipe, most of which is funded by taxpayers, and build manufacturing capacity.

Research suggests that if developing countries are unable to vaccinate most of their populations by the end of 2021, the world economy will lose $1.5tn to 9.2tn, with the US and other developed countries losing the lion’s share.

Additionally, it would take years for low-income countries to achieve herd immunity.

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