WTO Director supports idea of manufacturing of vaccine in Latin America and Africa

WTO Director supports idea of manufacturing of vaccine in Latin America and Africa
WTO Director supports idea of manufacturing of vaccine in Latin America and Africa

The head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated on Thursday that the manufacturing of vaccine should increase, and the production of vaccines must also be done in Africa and Latin America.

On the eve of a global health summit in Rome, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told European Union legislators that regular market forces for exports and imports couldn’t apply when it comes to the life-or-death issue of COVID-19 vaccines, as many of the world’s wealthiest nations were acquiring the shots for their own population when the crisis hit their own country.

WTO head stated, “The world has the capacity to manufacture some 5 billion vaccine doses overall but that as the virus has spread, we require twice and three times that. So the capacity is not there.” she added.

The WTO director stated that one of the main challenges is diversifying vaccine production, which is now 80% concentrated in 10 European, North American and South Asian nations, Okonjo-Iweala said, calling the situation a problem that “has come home to roost.

She said that it’s not normal that Africa, with 1.3 billion people, has 0.17 % of the manufacturing capacity of the world, so this has to change.” She replied that Latin America has about 2% of global generation potential.

The summit on Friday was co-hosted by the European Union’s supervisory department, and Italy was required to represent a Group of 20 industrial and emerging-market nations, the heads of international organizations and representatives of global health bodies.

EU nations criticized an appeal by the United States to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents as a way to increase supplies, arguing the move would intermediate improvement and could even have a negative impact.

Okonjo-Iweala tried to remain impartial on the issue but said WTO members could find the versatility to guarantee more vaccine production in developing nations.