Failing to bring COVID-19 under control will cost $5.3 trillion in lost global growth over next five years, IMF estimates

Less than 5% of developing countries are fully vaccinated compared with about 58% in the richest economies

A man receives a dose of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine during a mass vaccination campaign in Kuwait City this week. AFP/Getty

If the COVID-19 pandemic is not brought under control, it would reduce global GDP by a cumulative $5.3 trillion over the next five years, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

“Recent developments have made it abundantly clear that we are all in this together and the pandemic is not over anywhere until it is over everywhere,” said Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, in a new report on the outlook for the global economy.

“It does not have to be this way,” Gopinath said.

The global community must step up its efforts to ensure equitable vaccine access for every country, overcome vaccine hesitancy where there is adequate supply and secure better economic prospects for all, she added.

Speeding up the vaccination of the world population remains the top policy priority, the IMF said, followed by pushing for widespread testing and investing in therapeutics.

Economies around the world are now divided into two camps: those with access to the vaccine and those without.

Less than 5% of the population in low-income developing countries are fully vaccinated compared with about 58% in the richest economies.

The IMF is forecasting that emerging market economies will gain greater access to vaccines in 2022, while some of the poorest will have to wait until 2023.

Hospitalizations and deaths are expected to be brought to low levels everywhere by the end of 2022.