Posted by on October 12, 2021 6:01 pm
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International finance chiefs: World will fall short of 2021 vaccination target

Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine vials in a row macro close up (MarsBars/Getty Images/iStock)

International finance chiefs: World will fall short of 2021 vaccination target

Joel Gehrke October 12, 05:24 PMOctober 12, 05:24 PM

An international coronavirus vaccine initiative will fail to reach the goal of vaccinating 40% of each country’s adult population, international financial chiefs conceded.

“I want to answer your question honestly: Can we get to 40% everywhere? This is going to be tough,” the International Monetary Fund Chairwoman Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist and former European Commission vice president, said Tuesday during an event broadcast as part of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings. “But can we get much closer to 40% everywhere and more than 40% in many countries? Yes.”

World Bank President David Malpass offered a similarly negative prognosis, saying, ”Forty percent is the goal, and that’s not being achieved.”

Vaccine distribution has unfolded largely along economic lines thus far, with wealthy nations accounting for the vast majority of the inoculations, while only 7% of people in the continent of Africa have received even their first shot. That disparity has drawn condemnation from some public health officials and provoked a debate about the approval of booster shots in the United States and Europe — a dispute that continued Tuesday when trade, finance, and public health leaders convened for the IMF event.

“I don’t think that’s the key issue,” Malpass, a former senior official at the U.S. Treasury Department, replied when asked if booster campaigns jeopardize the provision of vaccines to the developing world. “The production is going up so rapidly. There may be enough to do boosters and to reach targets in 2022.”

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Malpass put a spotlight on the leadership in the countries in need of vaccines. “The key thing that I would emphasize is for finance ministers in countries and their health ministers to seek contracts, to try to get delivery dates that are early, and to ask for them and to request them,” he said. “If the countries asked for doses and arrange for getting the contracts set up in an accountable way — that’s key.”

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, given the chance to address the matter moments after Malpass, erupted with a denunciation of the booster shots. He underscored that Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion people, has received only a bit more than 166 million of the 6.5 billion vaccine doses administered worldwide. “For countries to move into boosters without even providing single doses in Africa is not right,” Tedros, a former Ethiopian health minister, told CNN Abu Dhabi Managing Editor Becky Anderson. “It has to be stopped.”

Tedros urged governments to “respect the moratorium” on booster shots that he extended in September. “Of course, there are exceptions,” he said. “You know, we can use it in immunocompromised populations — immunocompromised. The rest — it’s immoral, unfair, unjust, and it has to stop.”

Georgieva indirectly concurred with Malpass’s statement about vaccine production and cited a pair of logistical “bottlenecks” that have impeded vaccine access — one at the point of donation and the other at delivery.

“If a rich country doesn’t need the vaccines in November and receives them in February, move the delivery in November to the developing world,” she said. “And in many poor countries, it is this getting the vaccine from the town where it is stuck to the child or the woman or the man in the village up in the mountains. That is the toughest part of this delivery.”

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Malpass also urged wealthy countries to follow through on their vaccine pledges. “What we need to do, and it’s particularly apparent in Africa, is to get doses to people that are ready to deliver them,” he said. “There is plentiful supply. The production is going up very rapidly in the advanced economies, but there’s a gap between the donations and the actual deliveries of those donated doses into, in particular, Africa.”

© 2021 Washington Examiner

Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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