AMP Capital, Aware Super, HESTA and a number of other Australian investors have urged for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, warning uneven vaccination rates could see the global economy shed as much as US$9.2 trillion ($11.5 trillion).
The companies have signed a global investor statement calling on G7 and G20 governments to address inconsistent vaccination rates and to make funding commitments to support investment in COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and testing.
The statement, backed by 148 institutional investors, has expressed concern around the limited funding for the World Health Organisation’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and uneven access to health technologies, from vaccines to antibodies to diagnostics and medical oxygen.
“A study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation has found that advanced economies that can vaccinate all of their citizens remain at risk of a sluggish recovery with a drag on GDP if infection continues to spread unabated in emerging markets,” the statement read.
“In fact, the global economy stands to lose as much as US$9.2 trillion if governments fail to ensure that developing economies gain access to COVID-19 vaccines. These losses dwarf the funding needed to enable vaccines to be procured for everyone, everywhere – making a clear investment case.”
It also referred to a similar study commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which estimated the economic benefits of a global equitable vaccine solution for 10 lower-income countries it analysed would amount to US$153 billion in 2020-21, rising to US$466 billion by 2025.
In contrast, the WHO’s ACT-Accelerator is estimated to have a total cost of US$38 billion.
The investor statement has demanded world leaders to finance the ACT-Accelerator in full, commit to work with the Access to Medicine Foundation and engage with healthcare companies to promote industry actions supporting the operations of the ACT-Accelerator.
Further, it has asked that governments explore the feasibility of new finance mechanisms for national and global COVID responses, similar to vaccine bonds issued by the International Finance Facility for Immunisation or social bonds for COVID-19 programs.
HESTA, one of the signatories, has also committed to engage healthcare companies to push for action towards a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines.
HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said as the super fund for the health community services sector, it feels strongly about the cause.
“We’ve all seen the incredible work our frontline healthcare workers in Australia and around the world have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Blakey said.
“Their individual efforts need to be supported by a strong global response to COVID to ensure that access to vaccination or treatment isn’t determined by what country you live in or how wealthy you are.”
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].
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