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Tackling Covid-19 over the long term: How to strengthen international efforts to end the pandemic

A weak and fragmented global response risks extending and worsening the Covid-19 pandemic.

A weak and fragmented global response risks extending and worsening the Covid-19 pandemic.

This report brings together recommendations from a series of roundtables and events attended by leading international scientists, former government ministers and senior officials from the civil service and leading international organisations. 

It explains how the best-case scenario sees the virus brought under control through vaccination – but that the worst case sees dangerous new variants fuelling deadly outbreaks and further lockdowns. Countries in Africa and South America are already experiencing their worst Covid surge to date, risking repeated India-style outbreaks in countries unable to manage them. 

With approaching half a million new cases being recorded per day globally – a figure that is rising – it is likely that further dangerous variants will emerge which “chip away” at vaccine effectiveness. Most low- and middle-income countries are sequencing a tiny proportion of cases, leaving the world “flying blind” and slow to respond to new threats. 

The G7 was a wasted opportunity to mark a turning point in the global response to Covid – and the report warns against wealthy and highly vaccinated countries seeing the crisis as nearly over. 

In the run-up to the G20 meeting in October, the report calls on policy makers to respond to the challenge with much stronger commitment to vaccinations, surveillance and wider healthcare capacity. These investments would not only help end the pandemic, but equip the world to face future threats. 

 The IfG/Wellcome Trust paper says global leaders must: 

  • Define an acceptable level of domestic vaccination and supply, and agree what surplus and wider resources can be committed to the global effort 
  • Commit greater financial resources: vaccinating the whole world to the level of rich countries requires around 11bn doses, at a cost of around $50bn – $35bn more than has so far been spent. 
  • Establish stable supply streams to poorer countries and help improve healthcare capacity to allow them to plan and implement vaccine rollouts effectively 
  • Develop policies and funding to meet the aim of strengthening global surveillance, including genomic sequencing
  • Agree on a package of institutional reforms to strengthen global health resilience and help equip the world to respond better to future threats.
Institute for Government

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