ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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World Trade Organization Is Moving Too Slow for Comfort

Any further delay to waive intellectual property rights and ensure adequate vaccines will prove costly.

 

As the battle against COVID-19 drags into the second year, an eerie spectre looms over the world. On the one hand, the world has overcome incredible challenges to launch more than half a dozen vaccines to eradicate the pandemic, but on the other, it is now faced with an even greater challenge of equitably distributing available vaccines across the world. Estimates indicate that high- and upper-middle-income countries have been able to secure or procure 6 billion of the first 8.6 billion vaccine doses. The lower-middle-income and low-income countries have only been able to secure a little more than half a billion vaccines each. Multilateral forums like the COVAX facility, which have been set up mainly to ensure more vaccines to the poorer nations, have managed just a little more than a billion doses.

Such gross inequity in vaccine availability will not only prolong the pandemic in poorer regions of the world, but also threaten the vaccination gains in the richer nations, as the virus in vast swathes of the poor nations continuously mutates and props up new variants which can reinfect the already vaccine-protected populations in the richer countries. After all, no one is safe in a pandemic until everyone is.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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