Health

Vaccinations must be fair and global to defeat COVID-19

Vaccinations must be fair and global to defeat COVID-19

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown believes at least $30 billion is needed annually for an effective global vaccination plan.

And Brown wants this high on the agenda for next week’s G7 Summit in Cornwall, England, an intergovernmental organization of leading economies comprising the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and Canada.

Apart from needing to democratise jab access, Brown made it clear in April that he fears disparity will have repercussions down the line for both rich and developing countries yet vaccines are still being prioritised for the Western and European world.

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Caption – Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for major investment in order to ensure an ongoing effective global vaccination plan

Our World in Data reported on June 3rd that more than 26.1m British, 136m American, 16.3m German and 11.5m French citizens are fully vaccinated, yet the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on June 2nd  that only 0.51% of Africans were fully vaccinated; the continent has a population of 1.2 billion.

In a Guardian newspaper exclusive, Brown said: “Immunising the West but only a fraction of the developing world is already fuelling allegations of ‘vaccine apartheid’ and will leave COVID-19 spreading, mutating and threatening the lives and livelihoods of us all for years to come.

“We need to spend now to save lives, and we need to spend tomorrow to carry on vaccinating each year until the disease no longer claims lives. And this will require at least $30 billion a year, a bill no one so far seems willing to fully underwrite.”

Yearly mass global vaccination support would also protect G7 nations financially in the long run, according to political risk consultancy Eurasia, which reported how G7 economies would be $500 billion better off by 2025 if such a plan took place this summer.

Despite G7 inaction, the private sector stepped up in 2020; funding from large companies, investment funds, and non-traditional investors reached record highs, while also providing healthtech companies with essential innovation support that some experts say advanced the sector ten years in just six months.

Investment monitoring platform Pitchbook reported that healthtech investment soared 47% in 2020 to a new high of $51 billion, with the sector already attracting £3.79 billion in further funding this year.

Venture Capital (VC) biotech and pharma deal activity also notched a record $28.5 billion of capital across 1,073 deals, while IPOs by VC-backed biotech companies raised $11.5 billion in capital across 73 biotech public listings, with a record total exit value of $37.3 billion.

Paul Stannard, general partner and co-founder of the Vector Innovation Fund (VIF), said:

“Governments must continually invest in global vaccine deployment and democratising jab access, but healthtech investment overall must also be maintained or further increased for the foreseeable future.

“The current investment levels are astonishing. However, to speed development of tech advances needed to eliminate COVID-19, prevent future pandemics, and realise a more accessible, decentralised global healthcare system that benefits all, investment levels must continue.”

VIF recently launched a sub-fund raising an initial $300m for pandemic protection and future healthcare, focusing on precision medicine, advanced point of care, and AI technologies that support sustainable healthcare, the global economy, and human longevity.

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