BCG Executive Perspectives

BCG Executive Perspectives offer insights on global topics that matter most to leaders in the public and private sectors. Our latest edition explores the current state of the coronavirus pandemic and what it will take—from corporations, governments, and nonprofits—to end it sooner rather than later. There’s simply no time to waste.

Edition 24: How to End the Global Pandemic in 2022

The numbers suggest that the pandemic is far from over.

Despite rapid progress on vaccination in places like Israel and the United States, COVID-19 is peaking—and coronavirus variants are spiking. India is currently facing a record of more than 350,000 new daily cases; Honduras has vaccinated less than 1% of its population. Although these countries aren’t alone in their continued struggle against the pandemic, they are powerful indicators of the work that remains to be done. If we continue on this trajectory, the pandemic won’t be contained until 2024. Too many parts of the world are being left behind.

But there’s reason to hope.

If companies, nonprofits, and governments work together to ensure the widespread, equitable distribution of vaccines, the pandemic could come to a halt in 2022.

The number of available vaccines will likely exceed the global population by the end of 2021, but serious barriers stand in the way of their delivery. The private sector has the opportunity to take on some of the challenges limiting throughput, which is now constrained by infrastructural and health care related issues that include spoilage, the absence of data systems for tracking, a lack of ancillary materials (such as needles), and poor coordination. Likewise, vaccine hesitancy remains a persistent issue worldwide. Education is desperately needed to assure populations of vaccines’ efficacy and safety.

And to make matters worse, the proliferation of coronavirus variants portend antibiotic resistance, massive spikes in disease, and decreased vaccine effectiveness. Crushing these variants will require solving the challenges of throughput, hesitancy, and equitable distribution quickly—there’s no time to waste. Fortunately, the US can likely begin donating doses to hot spots and vulnerable populations by June 2021, taking a leading role in the COVAX initiative, a collaborative effort aimed at equitable vaccine access. Other nations can help bring about an equitable vaccine future—while continuing to meet the day-to-day challenges of the pandemic. Seven no-regret actions will help these efforts and strengthen the global health care infrastructure.

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BCG Executive Perspectives