WTO paper explores role of trade policy in the rapid roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines

The WTO Secretariat has published a new information note on trade-related issues for COVID-19 vaccine production, manufacturing and deployment. The note, entitled “Developing and delivering COVID-19 vaccines around the world,” explores how trade policy can play its part in ensuring the rapid roll-out of vaccines against COVID-19.

The paper goes into further detail on key topics included in two documents previously published on the WTO website: “Infographic: Developing & delivering COVID-19 vaccines around the world” and “Developing & delivering COVID-19 vaccines around the world: A checklist of issues with trade impact”.

The new information note comprises three sections. Section A provides background information on immunization and the urgent search for vaccines against COVID-19. This section points to immunization as a key component of primary health care and highlights the ambitious national and global targets that have been set for COVID-19 vaccines. According to the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses are to be distributed by the end of 2021, with an allocation for every country equal to 20 per cent of the population so as to cover prioritized target groups.

Section B provides an overview of the development and delivery of vaccines in the form of an infographic listing seven steps in this process: vaccine development, domestic approval (manufacture), vaccine manufacture, domestic approval (importer), international distribution, border clearance, and domestic distribution and surveillance.

Finally, Section C identifies where key decisions with trade impact may need to be made along the vaccine value chain and provides a non-exhaustive list of useful resources to help inform decision-making. This section includes a checklist of trade issues to consider along with the COVID-19 vaccine value chain, as well as a world map of clinical trials and partnerships on COVID-19 treatments.

The report can be found here.

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