Healthcare Economics – $38 Billion to Develop and Equitably Deploy Covid-19 Vaccine and Accessories Globally

In April 2020 a collaboration between the World Health Organization and the world’s leading international health organizations was created to support the development and equitable distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. This unique global collaboration created a programme called Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, ACT Accelerator. This initiative by the World Health Organisation has provided a cost framework for full administering of vaccines globally with recent reports justifying the investment while other drugmakers have made independent offers.  

Photo courtesy of The International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR

Economics of ACT Accelerator and the Present Challenges

The motive of this partnership is to invest $38 billion into development and deployment of covid-19 test kits, treatment and vaccines, but are yet to gather sufficient funds. This $38 billion when prorated across the world comes to about $4.90 for tools and vaccine for each individual. Although a reasonable amount to pay for treatment of an infection, the initiative is however experiencing some setback in generating the necessary funding. At present, recent contributions bring the total committed to over $5.6 billion, but an additional $3.7 billion is needed urgently, with a further $23.9 billion required in 2021, if tools are to be deployed across the world as they become available. This initial investment may seem huge which has created some shortfall.

Economic Benefits of Deploying the Vaccines Globally

Consequently, the Eurasia Group has provided a report which analyses the economic benefits of a vaccine on ten major economies. The report assesses the economic benefits to Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States for contributing to the work of the ACT Accelerator.  The report estimates that these 10 economies are likely to generate $153 billion by 2021 and a further $466 billion by 2025 if they invest in this initiative. This is more than 12 times the $38 billion estimated total cost of the ACT Accelerator. There may be other reasons some major countries are not investing with the United Kingdom committing just over US$ 1 billion, and Germany, Canada, Japan and France committing $618 million, $290 million, $229 million and $147 million respectively.

Proposed Cost of Vaccines from Other Drugmakers

Evidently, there are signs of major countries desiring to source vaccines from other drugmakers. This has been alluded to going by the tweet from a politician in Europe which shows how much the EU has agreed to pay for the leading vaccines. Here is a list of such vaccines from drugmakers and the prices:

  1. Oxford University and AstraZeneca: $2.18 (1.78 euro)
  2. Johnson & Johnson: $10.42 (8.50 euro)
  3. Sanofi and Glaxo Smith Klein: $9.27 (7.56 euro)
  4. Pfizer and BioNTech: $14.71 (12 euro)
  5. CureVac: $12.26 (10 euro)
  6. Moderna: $22.06 (18 euro)

At present the overall price range for covid-19 vaccines is between $2.18 and $22.06 from major drugmakers.

In conclusion, it is clear that there are several price offers and justifications for covid-19 vaccine from ACT Accelerator, and other drugmakers. Commencement of testing and rollout are the next major steps.

  1. Equal access to COVID-19 vaccines could be worth billions – https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/12/who-covid-vaccines-equitable-access/
  2. Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines estimated to generate economic benefits of at least US$ 153 billion in 2020–21, and US$ 466 billion by 2025, in 10 major economies, according to new report by the Eurasia Group – https://www.who.int/news/item/03-12-2020-global-access-to-covid-19-vaccines-estimated-to-generate-economic-benefits-of-at-least-153-billion-in-2020-21
  3. The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator
  4. Access to COVID-19 tools funding commitment tracker – https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/access-to-covid-19-tools-tracker
  5. A politician tweeted a list showing how much the EU has agreed to pay for the leading vaccines, confirming rumors of Moderna’s sky-high price – https://africa.businessinsider.com/science/a-politician-tweeted-a-list-showing-how-much-the-eu-has-agreed-to-pay-for-the-leading/vj8bm3y

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