The head of the International Monetary Fund is warning that the global economy is facing a slow recovery due to the “Great Vaccination Divide” between the world’s wealthiest and poorest nations.
Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday during a virtual speech at Bocconi University in Italy that the IMF will be lowering its economic forecast for 2021 in its upcoming World Economic Outlook due to a surge of new COVID-19 cases sparked by the more contagious Delta variant, along with soaring debt and inflation levels in many nations.
The Fund had predicted 6% growth for the global economy in its World Economic Outlook in July.
Georgieva said the world faces a recovery “that remains hobbled by the pandemic and its impact. We are unable to walk forward properly — it is like walking with stones in our shoes.”
She said the global economy could lose about $5.3 trillion over the next five years if the world’s richest nations fail to deliver on pledges to share vaccines with developing countries, and as well as fill a $20 billion gap in financing for low-income nations for testing, tracing and therapeutics.
“If we don’t, large parts of the world will remain unvaccinated, and the human tragedy will continue.”
Georgieva said it is still possible for the world to reach a target goal set by the IMF to vaccinate at least 40% of people in every nation by the end of this year, and 70% by the first half of 2022.
Authorities in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington are reporting that a woman in her 30s died from a rare blood clotting disorder after she received Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. Officials in King County said the woman received the shot on August 26, and died less than two weeks later on September 7.
The unidentified woman is believed to be the fourth person to have died from thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS, after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes TTS as blood clots with low platelets. The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) briefly suspended use of the vaccine back in April after reports of several women younger than 50 years old who developed the rare blood clotting issue.
The suspension was lifted, but the vaccine now includes a mandatory warning about the possible clotting risk. Nearly 15 million people in the United States have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The company asked the FDA Tuesday to approve a second shot of the vaccine as a booster.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.