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IMF prepares $50B plan to combat COVID-19 and save global economy

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has prepared a $50 billion proposal that aims to ensure that 60 per cent of the world population is vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first half of 2022.

The proposal prepared by IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath, managing director Kristalina Georgieva and economist Ruchir Agarwal provides that urgent action is needed to stop the surging death toll and the economic crisis created by the pandemic.

Asserting that there is a wide disparity in vaccination coverage and economic recovery between countries, the IMF said the disparities will widen further between wealthy countries that have widespread access to vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, and poorer countries still struggling to inoculate frontline healthcare workers.

According to the agency, less than 2 per cent of the African population has been inoculated as against 40 per cent in the US and 20 per cent in Europe that has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It also said that ending the pandemic is a solvable problem but requires further coordinated global action.

Targets under the proposal

The targets under the proposal include:

  • Vaccinate at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022
  • Track and insure against downside risks
  • Ensure widespread testing and tracing, maintain adequate stocks of therapeutics, and enforce public health measures in places where vaccine coverage is low.

Action suggested under IMF proposal

The actions suggested under the IMF proposal include:

  • Provide additional upfront grants to COVAX of at least $4 billion. This financing will help finalize orders and activate unused vaccine capacity.
  • Ensure free cross-border flows of raw materials and finished vaccines: Such restrictions are jeopardizing access to vaccines for billions of people in the developing world.
  • Immediately donate surplus vaccines
  • Make at-risk investments to diversify and increase vaccine production capacity by 1 billion doses in early 2022 to handle downside risks in 91 low- and middle-income countries, including from new variants that may require booster shots.
  • Scale-up genomic surveillance and systemic supply chain surveillance with concrete contingency plans in place to handle possible mutations or shocks to the supply chain.
  • Ensure widespread testing, sufficient therapeutics, public health measures, and prepare for vaccine deployment
  • Urgently evaluate and implement (where approved) dose stretching strategies to expand effective supply.

Funding for the proposal

In order to achieve the outcomes of the IMF proposal, the agency has estimated an expenditure of nearly $50 billion, which would include grants, national government resources, and concessional financing.

“Saving lives and livelihoods should need no justification, but a faster end to the pandemic could also inject the equivalent of $9 trillion into the global economy by 2025 due to a faster resumption of economic activity,” IMF said.

 

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