COVAX struggling as some nations bid more for scant vaccines, says WTO

FILE PHOTO: Director-General of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks during a news conference remotely on the annual global WTO trade forecast at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland March 31, 2021. Salvatore Di Nolfi/Pool via Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) – The COVAX vaccine-sharing programme has struggled to meet vaccine delivery targets because some countries are able to offer more for scant supplies, the head of the World Trade Organization said on Tuesday.

“The supply scarcity is driving behaviour,” director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in an online interview with the Atlantic Council, without naming any countries.

“Many of them (countries) supported COVAX but many of them bid away vaccines from COVAX and that is why COVAX has been struggling to deliver what it should.”

She also expressed hope that a major meeting this week on curbing fisheries subsidies at the WTO would “kick us along the path towards agreement”.

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