Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research
COVID – “Vaccination Financing”
In one of more unusual WHO documents generated in the pandemic context, we note the “Departmental News” item below which has no authors identified and no further attribution. We limited our excerpt to the first “question & answer” – extraordinary for its proscriptive closing point.
WHO :: COVID-19 Vaccination Financing and Budgeting Q&A
27 April 2021 Departmental news
[Excerpt from 10 questions & answers]
What is the overall recommendation with regards to financing?
:: The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the unpredictable nature of the virus, with new variants shifting the epicenter of the disease and countries experiencing multiple waves of infections and economic impact. Achieving high vaccination coverage in all countries is the only way to disrupt the pandemic globally and win the race against the virus.
:: The substantial impact that COVID-19 has had on the health and wellbeing of everyone plus its crippling effect on economies across the world means that COVID-19 vaccination will serve two critical functions: an essential health intervention (reducing mortality and morbidity) plus much-needed economic stimulus (allowing economies to re-open). Vaccination can also become a public good: once a critical mass of people have been vaccinated, the herd immunity that results is enjoyed by all.
:: It should follow, then, that financing COVID-19 vaccination is a government-wide responsibility and that governments need to explore how best it should be financed. The very large positive externalities (i.e., the health and economic benefits of vaccination are both at the individual and societal level) arising.
:: Sources of funding for COVID-19 vaccination should not come at the expense of other essential health or social services keeping in mind that said funding, because of its very large positive externalities, is an overall economic decision taken by government and is certainly not limited by the reprogramming of existing MOH budgets. In the case that existing funds are reprogrammed to COVID-19 vaccination from other activities or investments (at the government-wide level), priority should be given to identifying areas of non-productive spending or non-essential activities that can be delayed without negatively impacting population welfare….