India’s covid crisis, a warning of possible events in other low- and middle-income countries
Observing that the “catastrophic” second wave of COVID-19 in India is a sign that the worst may yet be to come, the IMF said the situation in the country is a warning of possible events in low and middle countries. income countries that have apparently escaped the pandemic so far.
A report co-authored on Friday by International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Ruchir Agarwal and chief economist Gita Gopinath also said that under the business-as-usual scenario, immunization coverage in India is expected to remain below 35% of the population. by the end of 2021.
The ongoing second catastrophic wave in India, after a terrible wave in Brazil, is a sign that the worst may yet be to come in the developing world, he said.
While India’s healthcare system held up fairly well in the first wave, this time its healthcare system is so overwhelmed that many people are dying due to a lack of medical supplies such as oxygen, medical beds. hospital and medical care, according to the report.
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“India is a warning of possible events in other low and middle income countries (LMICs) that so far have apparently escaped the pandemic, including in Africa,” he said.
For India, the report says, current bilateral vaccine purchases and COVAX coverage will cover around 25% of its population by the first half of 2022.
To achieve 60% coverage, India will need to immediately place sufficient vaccine orders of around 1 billion doses through contracts that encourage investment in additional capacity and increased supply chain. .
In this context, authorities recently announced funding of around USD 600 million to the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to increase production capacity in the short term is a welcome step, the report said, adding that authorities believe that two billion doses be available by the end of 2021.
Efforts should be made to ensure that the projected production capacity materializes without delay, including by securing the raw material supply chain supported by international efforts to eliminate export restrictions on all critical inputs, a he added. In its report, the IMF said that an urgent priority should be to remove constraints on cross-border exports of critical raw materials and finished vaccines. The free flow of vaccine inputs and supplies across borders is essential for the world to meet its immunization goals without delay.
Governments are taking steps to ease these constraints on raw materials, he said, citing the recent US pledge to facilitate better access to essential raw materials for Indian manufacturers after severe shortages emerge. However, there is room for more multilateral action on this front, as significant constraints remain, he said.
The IMF report says India continues to face production bottlenecks, especially due to persistent shortages of critical raw materials, which suggests the need to further ease restrictions on the export of facto under the US Defense Production Act. Despite these short-term constraints, by mid-May 2021, authorities estimate that more than two billion doses will be available by the end of the year based on shared company-level supply projections. publicly by officials.
Therefore, while current vaccine pre-purchases and COVAX AMC coverage remain around 25 percent, authorities intend to meet residual needs through additional production, he said. To reach 60 percent of the population, India will need to order around one billion doses of additional vaccine.
“Since the authorities are expected to comfortably use domestic resources to meet these residual needs and do not seek external funding for these purposes, we are not allocating additional funds for India in our budgeting exercise,” he said. said the IMF. The Indian authorities are currently pursuing a strategy of purchasing vaccines for people over 45 by the central government while allowing states to procure vaccines for people aged 18 to 44.
Considering the current price of vaccines offered by domestic suppliers and the estimated size of the younger population in India, the centre’s additional funding needs to cover the population aged 18-44 represent around 0.25% of GDP, suggesting that there is room for the government to manage all purchasing centrally, he said.
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