rfi.fr– The International Monetary Fund has said delays in Covid-19 vaccinations are the top risk facing the global economy, and that getting people in poor countries inoculated should be a top priority.
The International Monetary Fund’s chief economist Gita Gopinath said Tuesday, “The fact that there is this big gap in access to vaccinations is a big problem.”
Speaking at the Fund’s annual general meeting Gopinath called on rich countries to help poor nations access the shots, saying achieving widespread vaccinations should be “the absolute number-one priority.”
Last week the IMF unveiled an updated global economic outlook that predicted the global economy would expand six percent this year and by 4.4 percent in 2022 – figures both higher than its previous estimates.
Vaccine inequality stifles economy
It warned, however, that uncertainty remains over its projections, and growth could accelerate if the vaccination rollout moves faster than expected or slower if they lag behind.
The IMF has stressed that investments in vaccines more than pay for themselves when economies are able to reopen, but lamented that vaccine distribution to poor countries was “deeply iniquitous” as rich nations sweep up most of the supply.
Vaccination campaigns have accelerated globally since the start of the year, but are facing obstacles.
This comes as US health authorities called for a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over blood clot fears.