Uneven Vaccination Rates Will Hamper Global Economic Recovery, OECD Says

Varying vaccination rates worldwide will hamper economic growth in some nations and create an uneven recovery from the pandemic, a leading global organization said.

While the worst of the pandemic may be behind the global economy, how each individual nation will recover from the economic calamity of 2020 remains to be seen, according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report published Tuesday. Vaccination rates, fresh surges of coronavirus, continued economic restrictions and supply chain delays will all factor into the global recovery.

“The global economic recovery remains strong, helped by government and central bank support and by progress in vaccination,” the report said. “But although global GDP has now risen above its pre-pandemic level, the recovery remains uneven with countries emerging from the crisis facing different challenges.”

While many Western countries have vaccinated more than 75% of their adult populations, dozens of developing nations have vaccinated less than 20%, data compiled by The New York Times showed. In many cases — such as Iraq, Senegal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Haiti — just a tiny fraction of the population has been vaccinated.

“Governments need to ensure that all resources necessary are used to deploy vaccinations as quickly as possible throughout the world to save lives, preserve incomes and bring the virus under control,” the report said.

“Stronger international efforts are needed to provide low-income countries with the resources needed to vaccinate their populations for their own and global benefits,” it continued.

With the strong support of the U.S., the United Nations introduced the COVAX program last year, which distributes vaccine doses around the world to countries in need. More than 296 million COVID-19 vaccines have been shipped to 141 separate nations via COVAX as of Tuesday.

The OECD report also noted that the reopening of economies worldwide has led to a surge in demand for key commodities, triggering shortages as supply chain struggles to keep up. The shortfalls in goods such as oil and metals has led to inflation in the U.S. and several emerging nations including India, Brazil and Russia.

“These inflationary pressures should eventually fade,” the OECD report stated. “Once bottlenecks are resolved, price increases in durable goods, such as cars, are likely to ease quickly as supply from the manufacturing sector rapidly picks up.”

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