India Has 50% Vaccinated, But 3rd Wave Risk Remains: IMF’s Gita Gopinath

“The target was to get 40 per cent of population of every country vaccinated by the end of this year. And a lot of countries haven’t achieved that. That’s a worry. The focus should be on that,” Gita Gopinath, International Monetary Fund’s Chief Economist said.

New Delhi: Gita Gopinath, International Monetary Fund’s Chief Economist, told NDTV today that with 50 per cent vaccination, India is high in confidence, especially in the backdrop of many nations failing to meet the 40 per cent target. But concern remains about a third wave, and the country, needs to “keep an eye on inflation”, she said.

“The target was to get 40 per cent of population of every country vaccinated by the end of this year. And a lot of countries haven’t achieved that. That’s a worry. The focus should be on that,” she told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

India has so far administered around 96.7 crore vaccine doses and is expected to cross the landmark of one billion, or 100 crore, next week.

Sources said the health ministry is expecting the milestone on Monday or Tuesday.

Around 73 per cent adults have received at least one dose, and around 30 per cent have been given both doses, sources said.

“With such a large population, you (India) already have your 50 per cent vaccinated that gives you confidence. But the risk that there could be a third wave remains,” said Ms Gopinath, who earlier said a good vaccination rate is also helpful for the economy.

Drawing a parallel with the US, she said there is a vaccine hesitancy in the US and that is having a spin-off effect on the economy.

“We saw consumption flat-lining in the US. That’s one of the factors for downgrading US growth. The main factor driving that is Delta variant — which stopped the momentum and disruption in supplies,” she said.

Then she added, “In US, there is vaccine hesitancy. Everybody knows that we need a much higher vaccination rate”.

India — which faces many challenges with regard to the financial market in view of the virus — needs to pay attention to inflation, she said. “Oil prices are going up, power outages, energy prices that’s going up. But the key aspect is to “address the pandemic, keep the confidence high (through more vaccinations),” Ms Gopinath added.

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