Vaccine finance and epidemics: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

David Bloom, Daniel Cadarette and Daniel Tortorice in this IMF piece:

Taken together, epidemic threats pose a huge risk to humanity and human progress. Vaccines represent one of the most valuable tools at our disposal for managing that risk.

Despite the high societal value of vaccination against diseases of epidemic potential, aspects of vaccine economics create challenges for achieving socially optimal levels of vaccine R&D, production, and uptake. Because vaccine R&D and the knowledge it creates are global public goods and because administered doses of vaccine have substantial positive externalities, the market tends to undersupply them. We therefore need public intervention to support R&D, manufacture, financing, and delivery—likely in the form of collective financing and the regulation of existing institutions.

COVID-19 is highlighting the fragility of our current systems for vaccine development, manufacture, and delivery. The world would do well to strengthen its systems before the next emerging pathogen gets a foothold in the human reservoir.

One cannot still believe that we have underinvested in vaccine research only to come this complete halt of world economy and society.


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