The IMF on Friday proposed $50 billion (€41bn) plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic, with a target of vaccinating at least 40 per cent of the world’s population by the end of 2021.

“Our proposal sets targets, estimates financing requirements, and lays out pragmatic action,” said Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund, at the Global Health Summit held in Rome as part of the G20.

Looking ahead to a long-term sustainable global economic recovery, the plan then aims to have at least 60 per cent of the world’s population vaccinated by the end of 2022.

The authors of the report point out that it is now recognised that there will be no real end to the economic crisis without an end to the health crisis. It is therefore in the interest of all countries to put a definitive end to the pandemic, it argues.

It is now recognised that there will be no real end to the economic crisis without an end to the health crisis

“For some time we have been warning of dangerous divergence of economic fortunes,” said Georgieva. “It will only worsen as the gap widens between wealthy countries that have access to vaccines and poor countries that do not.”

At the end of April, less than two per cent of the population of Africa had been vaccinated while more than 40 per cent of the population in the United States and more than 20 per cent in Europe had received at least one dose of vaccine against COVID, the IMF said. 

The fund is prioritising closing the vaccine gap to put the world back on the path to growth. The goal is to “help bring the pandemic substantially under control everywhere for everyone’s benefit,” Georgieva said.

To get there, the IMF stressed the need for additional subsidies for the international Covax scheme – which was set up to try to prevent rich countries from hoarding vaccine, but is proving ineffective so far. Those subsidies would come through donations of surplus doses and ensuring the free cross-border flow of raw materials and vaccine. 

The estimate of $50 billion is a combination of at least $35 billion in subsidies, plus resources from governments and other funding, the IMF said.

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