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The World Trade Organisation published a list of trade related problems it says are to blame for limited access to COVID-19 vaccines in poorer countries, as it sat down with the World Health Organisation to discuss how to address the problem.
The private discussion, aimed to identify obstacles and propose solutions for increasing vaccine rates and bridging the wide gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries.
Participants 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 and onerous regulatory processes, and exchanged ideas on how these might be addressed.
They also discussed issues around the transfer of know-how and technology, as well as factors influencing 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 in relation to vaccines and other products needed to combat COVID-19.