US Treasury Secretary warns that slow vaccine rollout in poor countries poses threat to global economies
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for speeding up the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in poorer nations, arguing the United States and global economies are threatened by the impact of covid-19 on the developing world.
While the United States and other rich countries are hoping for a return to normalcy as soon as this fall, many parts of the developing world are not on pace to have widespread vaccination of their populations until 2023 or 2024. Those countries have largely suffered more devastating economic impacts from Covid-19, in part because they do not have the fiscal capacity to authorize the levels of emergency spending approved in the United States.
In prepared remarks Monday to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs ahead of meetings this week of international finance officials, Yellen called on richer countries to step up both economic and public health assistance to poorer nations reeling from covid. She noted as many as 150 million people across the world risk falling into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis.
“This would be a profound economic tragedy for those countries, one we should care about. But, that’s obvious. What’s less obvious — but equally true — is that this divergence would also be a problem for America,” Yellen said. “Our first task must clearly be stopping the virus by ensuring that vaccinations, testing and therapeutics are available as widely as possible.”
[The Washington Post]