Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Friday that the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in countries outside the U.S. could hamper the prospects of a swift global recovery. 
The Wall Street Journal reported that despite the vaccination progress in the U.S., some emerging economies are having difficulty vaccinating their populations. UBS estimated that these countries may only vaccinate 28 percent of their populations by the end of the year. The report pointed out that the U.S. is on pace to vaccinate three-fourths of its population by June.
Powell said, “Viruses are no respecters of borders, and until the world really is vaccinated we’re all going to be at risk of new mutations. I would look at global vaccination as a risk really… to the progress we are making.”
Brazil is an example of an emerging economy that has been hit with another wave of infections. President Jair Bolsonaro has made it clear in recent weeks that vaccinations are his top priority in the country.
“The Country is in a nationwide hospital collapse right now—it’s the first time in history the public health system has collapsed. If we can acquire the vaccine in large quantities, we could at least mitigate the situation,” Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian professor of neuroscience at Duke, told the BBC.
The IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, told Al Jazeera that the vaccine production helped save the global economy and there could have easily been “another Great Depression.”
She urged world powers like the U.S., India, and China to keep poorer countries in mind when it comes to access to vaccines. She said a quicker end to the public health crisis could tack on about $9 trillion to the global GDP by 2025.
“Vaccine policy is economic policy,” she said.

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