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Vaccine inequity can threaten sustainability of global economic recovery: WTO

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG of WTO, says against the target of vaccinating 40% of the world’s population by this year, and 70% by mid-next year, vaccination has reached only 4% or less of the population of some parts of the world, while in some countries it is as high as 50-60%. This inequity will hurt the sustainability of global economic recovery.

World Trade Organization’s (WTO) new Director General, the first woman and first African to hold the position — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala — is in New Delhi for talks ahead of the WTO ministerial meeting next month.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, she said that while the vaccine patent waiver proposal is stuck in the TRIPS Council, she is hopeful of a pragmatic solution.
Her biggest worry, she says, is vaccine inequity which can threaten the sustainability of global economic recovery.
She said, “We have made it clear that it makes practical, moral and economic sense to try and vaccinate as much of the world as possible. We have a target of vaccinating 40 percent of the world’s population by this year, 70 percent by mid-next year. However, the fact that some parts of the world have only 4 percent or less of their population vaccinated, like in low income countries, and you have other countries where you have more than 50-60 percent vaccinated, that kind of inequity just doesn’t work. It is not just a moral issue, it is an economic issue, and I am really worried that the sustainability of global economic recovery is at stake here if we don’t act quickly to solve this problem of inequity of vaccines.”
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