WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Saturday that G7 countries are pledging one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 100 million from from the United Kingdom and 500 m from the United States.
But Tedros said that to truly end the pandemic, the goal must be to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by next year when the G7 – the richest nations in the world – meet in Germany.
“To do this, we need 11 billion doses,” he said.
Tedros added that it was essential for countries to temporarily waive intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, which found support in Washington but not in Europe.
Tedros reiterated his goal of vaccinating 30% of each country’s population by the end of 2021, which would require 100 million doses in June and July and 250 million more by September.
While nearly half of the combined population of G7 countries have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the global figure is less than 13%. In Africa, it is only 2.2%.
“A profitable investment”
Economists at the International Monetary Fund recently estimated that it would cost $ 50 billion to immunize 60% of the world’s population by the middle of next year, and that achieving this goal would generate $ 9 trillion in additional economic output by 2025.
Those who call on richer countries to do more to make vaccines available worldwide argue that it would be a worthwhile investment in human capital.
“If we do this, and everyone says it’s the deal of the century, about 60% of those resources must come from the rich G-7 countries,” said Robert Yates, director of the global health program at Chatham House, a London-based public policy think tank.
Countries like the United States and Britain secured the supply of several COVID-19 vaccines while they were still in development, hoping to secure shipments for all successful applicants. This left them with enough doses to inoculate their entire population two or three times after regulators approved a certain number of shots.
They are now under pressure to immediately provide vaccines to low-income countries and not wait until they have vaccinated the younger age groups in their own countries. COVID-19 poses the greatest risk to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, who account for the vast majority of people who die from the disease.