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WHO-WTO dialogue targets higher vaccine output

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 22, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) on July 21 hosted a high-level dialogue aiming to identify obstacles and propose solutions for increasing vaccine production.

The event, which was held under the Chatham House Rule, also discussed closing the wide gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries.

The Directors-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Daren Tang, and the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, opened the event.

Participants at the dialogue titled “Expanding COVID-19 vaccine manufacture to promote equitable access” described current and projected production volumes as well as plans for new investments in production capacity.

They shared experiences about specific supply chain bottlenecks they were encountering, from export restrictions and raw material shortages to onerous regulatory processes, and exchanged ideas on how these might be addressed.

They discussed issues around the transfer of know-how and technology as well as factors influencing their decisions on licensing intellectual property.

While there was broad agreement on the importance of keeping supply chains open and predictable, different perspectives were expressed on the proposed waiver of the WTO's Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement provisions pertaining to vaccines and other products needed to combat Covid-19.

The discussions also touched upon a wide range of issues where greater international cooperation would be beneficial. For instance, multiple participants noted that uncoordinated national recognition of WHO-approved vaccines could leave many vaccinated people unable to travel to places where their vaccines are not recognised. In this regard, they urged countries to accept all WHO-approved vaccines. – TradeArabia News Service




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