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Differing rates of COVID-19 vaccination have created two-tier global recovery: WTO

Differing rates of COVID-19 vaccination have created two-tier global recovery: WTO
Differing rates of COVID-19 vaccination were compounding the problems, creating a two-tier global recovery, says WTO.

COVID19

Differing rates of COVID-19 vaccination have created two-tier global recovery: WTO

Differing rates of COVID-19 vaccination were compounding the problems, creating a two-tier global recovery, says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO). She pointed out that as some economies roared back to life, others were left floundering.




“Rich countries that have vaccinated more than 50% of their population and have implemented very strong fiscal stimulus of billions of dollars are on a better recovery path than the poorer countries who have no fiscal space and who also have very little access to vaccines,” Okonjo-Iweala said. “The fact that 60% or more of people in many rich countries have been vaccinated versus slightly below 2% in poor countries just gives you the rate of divergence.”

The WTO head believes there has been a failure of global leadership in ensuring that vaccines were more equitably distributed around the world. “We have the technology to save lives and yet we can’t seem to get it where it’s needed,” she said. “Rich countries had pledged hundreds of millions of doses to poorer ones, but they are just not translating into distribution to where they are needed.”

The Task Force – International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization – in September 2021, noted that despite adequate global vaccine production in the aggregate, the doses are not reaching low- and lower middle-income countries in sufficient amounts. This has resulted in a crisis of vaccine inequity.

As such, the Task Force encouraged countries that have contracted high amounts of vaccine doses, and vaccine manufacturers, to come together in good faith to urgently accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supplies to COVAX and AVAT. It has been reported that countries with high vaccination rates have collectively pre-purchased over two billion doses in excess of what is required to fully vaccinate their economies.


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Furthermore, the Task Force called on all countries to urgently address export restrictions, high tariffs and customs bottlenecks on COVID-19 vaccines and the raw materials and supplies required for the production and timely distribution of vaccines. It urged regulatory authorities around the world to create regulatory consistency and standardization on the approval of vaccines, and to support the acceptance of the WHO Emergency Use Listing procedure. The Task Force said efforts should be made to boost production of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments globally and expedite equitable delivery of such lifesaving tools to developing countries.


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