In a new economic brief titled “Resurgence of the Pandemic and Economic Uncertainties: The Global Scramble for a Vaccine,” our Chief Economist Hans Holzhacker writes that the global economy shows some momentums of resumed growth, but they are not solid. There is a lot of good will, and efforts are made, for a “better recovery” from the COVID-19 crisis, and hope for a greener and digitalized economy, which will also lead to more inclusive post-COVID-19 economic order.
However, as long as the pandemic pervades, investment by the private sector will remain subdued, and the recovery, including the intended better one, will be sluggish. With worsened prospects to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic by containment measures alone, the availability of medical treatment, and of a vaccine in particular, has become critical for defeating the disease. Some progress has been made in developing a vaccine, and a race among the major powers has begun for securing for themselves a large number of doses. In the short run, after the development of a vaccine, there is a real possibility that developing countries, including most of CAREC countries, will be left out in the global scramble for vaccines. Some of the CAREC countries have undertaken some planning and initiatives to address this important public health concern. However, in order not to be left behind in this global scramble, plans have to be specified, obstacles for procurement, financing and dissemination of future vaccines must be identified before an effective vaccine is developed and ready for large scale use. Opportunities for cooperation with multilateral or bilateral partners have to be investigated and all avenues of cooperation must be leveraged to ensure that vaccines are available to CAREC countries at the earliest.