The Covid-19 outbreak is not only leading public health crisis but also caused substantial damage to the world economy due to loss of life, reduced productivity, trade disruption, business closures and decimation of service industries…..
Dr Abhishek Dadhich
The national governments throughout the globe spend trillions of dollars to fight against negative economic impact. The outbreak of novel corona virus has impacted nations in an enormous way. India and other large populated nations have required putting huge amounts of resources on social welfare and livelihood programs during pandemic and on the other side prevention, control and treatment of Covid-19 infection is also a top priority for the government.
The availability of vaccine and other alternative treatment is going to help in safeguarding public health and also reduce significantly the socio-economic costs burden of the pandemic on the nations around the world. There will be further many more challenges takes place which can be associated with manufacturing and distribution process of vaccines or medicines around the globe.
Until there is a treatment or vaccine broadly available, physical distancing, the use of sanitizer, facemasks and lab test, surveillance and monitoring will most likely be the only effective measures in the battle against the spread of the disease. The national concern of not having enough medical commodities or resources led governments around the globe to enact both export restrictions and import liberalizing measures for personal protective equipment as well as crucial medical supplies. Whereas imposed of such restrictions boosted the domestic supply of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, this also shifted negative implications of supply shortages on other foreign countries and as the number of countries implementing such restrictions has escalated, the risk is spiraling protectionism that can lead to catastrophic scenario throughout the globe.
The economic burden and public healthcare crisis both continuously pressurize government and other regulatory agencies for hastening the process of vaccine discovery around the globe and this may also raise a situation where countries push to get first access to a supply of vaccines to follow their own interests instead of pursuing a more globally coordinated approach and emerging of this situation is called as ‘vaccine nationalism’.
If ‘vaccine nationalism’ situation will be emerged than this could lead to the unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and it will cost the global economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP terms. If Covid-19 infection is not controlled at all over the regions of the world due to non accessibility of vaccine than there will be continuous rise in global economic cost which is associated with Covid-19 The multi-country economic model suggests that if low- or middle-income countries cannot access the Covid-19 vaccine than the world developed countries economies like Europe will fall about $40 billion a year whereas US and UK loose $16 billion and 10 billion per year.
This shows the predictableassessment where real annual global GDP with four conditional scenarios is compared with the hypothetical base line scenario that how all high-, middle- and low-income countries can successfully immunize their population against the COVID-19 infection. The first bar shows no any nation have access to vaccine. The second bar shows the only nations who have early access to vaccine and last two bars predicts scenario where middle or low income countries have no any access to vaccine.
If only one nation such as US, UK, Russia, China and India is having access to vaccine than it will show significant growth in individual economy but due to lower international demand from middle and low income countries the economic activity of nation will still show negative growth.
Issues to be considered
Effective logistics and distributions of COVID-19 Vaccine
The effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable population in certain nations lowers the risk of infection and prevents the number of deaths that may occur due to COVID-19 pandemic. This may also prevent issues like ‘vaccine nationalism ‘which can be takes place due to global completion. The leading economies should invest substantially more in vaccine development and distribution which also boost global cooperative effort. To support international and sustainable distribution of vaccine, stringent regulatory framework for vaccine development and distribution are needed and same should be coordinated and managed by established international forums.
Capacity building of health work force
To increase the productivity and work efficiency of health workers government of different nations and other healthcare stakeholders mutually organize the capacity building training programs that enables them to conduct immunization program successfully and create awareness among common population regrading COVID-19 vaccination program. The capacity building program involves direct cost but for longer duration and sustainable action it will also prevent direct and indirect cost incurred during immunization program.
Establishment of cold-chain stores at service delivery points
To maintain the potency and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines at service delivery points is more crucial and challenging aspects during immunization program. For the best technology advancement and proper utilization of resources public private partnership model can be implemented in which private sector healthcare industries can provide best resource utilization support in storing and maintaining vaccine potency during immunization program. The middle- and low-income countries can also outsource the cold chain management technologies from foreign countries or international organization which can decrease the cost of ownership and maintenance during vaccine storage and distribution process.
(The author is Assistant Professor, School of Allied Health Sciences, DPSRU, New Delhi)