The impact of COVID-19 on health and health systems


The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerabilities in health systems can have profound implications for health, economic progress, trust in governments, and social cohesion.

Containing and mitigating the spread and infection rate of the virus continue to be essential. But so is strengthening the capacity of health systems to respond swiftly and effectively. This includes administering COVID-19 vaccines. After lightening speed development and testing, vaccine campaigns are rolling out in many countries. But questions about production, delivery and equitable access remain, not least for low and middle-income countries.


This page features the latest OECD work on the impact of COVID-19 on health and health systems, along with OECD recommendations and policy advice on how to boost health systems’ resilience.

Ready for the Next Crisis? Investing in Health System Resilience

Investing in Health System Resilience

Released 23 February 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic had massive consequences for societies and health systems across the OECD and beyond. Health systems were not resilient enough. Resilient health systems plan and are ready for shocks, such as pandemics, economic crises or the effects of climate change. They are able to minimise the negative consequences of crises, recover as quickly as possible, and adapt to become better performing and more prepared. Smart, targeted investments in health system resilience are needed to improve health and ensure the next shock is less disruptive and costly.
This report reviews the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and applies them to build policy recommendations to ensure the global community is ready for the next crisis. The reviews and recommendations cover health system issues – including workforce, digitalisation, continuity of care and mental health – and other topics, including long-term care, supply chains and international co-operation.

High Level Meeting on Safe International Travel

High Level Meeting on Safe International Travel

7-8 July 2022, Ibiza, Spain

The High-Level Meeting on Safe International Travel brought together ministers, deputy ministers, and high level authorities mainly responsible for the sectors of health, tourism, and foreign affairs, to discuss measures and build consensus to accelerate return to safe international mobility, while protecting the safety of travel.

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All OECD COVID-19 Policy Briefs are available at



Note: Based on annual reported totals of deaths from all-causes. Age standardised mortality rate uses the 2015 OECD Standard Population. 
Information on data for Israel.



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