Does the vaccine divide matter?

Climate change and environmental threats understandably dominate the list of long-term risks feared by global leaders, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), as we report this week.

However, one interesting observation in Its annual report on global risks was a warning that a ‘vaccine divide’ exists between rich and poor nations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic:

“In some countries, rapid vaccine rollout, successful digital transformations and new growth opportunities could mean a return to pre-pandemic trends in the short term and the possibility of a more resilient outlook over a longer horizon,” the report says.

“Yet many other countries will be held back by low rates of vaccination, continued acute stress on health systems, digital divides and stagnant job markets. These divergences will complicate the international collaboration needed to address the worsening impacts of climate change, manage migration flows and combat dangerous cyber-risks.”

I think the WEF is really onto something here.

The Omicron variant has been disruptive, and we aren’t out of the woods yet, but the initial evidence does seem to suggest a more contagious but less severe variant. But who knows what future mutations of this horrible virus will be like?

Besides, the simple fact is that while huge discrepancies in vaccination rates continue to exist between nations, then we are giving COVID-19 a greater chance to cause more loss of life and more economic disruption in future.

And for those out there in developed economies with easy access to vaccines who remain unvaccinated: JUST DO IT! You are not only risking your health, you are risking the health of others by clogging up health systems.

Marcus Alcock,

Editor, Emerging Risks

Follow us on twitter: @risksEmerging

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