In yesterday’s post, I reviewed current information showing that the WTO’s efforts to develop a response to the COVID-19 pandemic was facing a situation where demand for vaccines was falling far behind production capacity resulting in reduced production and the closing of some facilities. April 30, 2022: World Trade Organization 12th Ministerial Conference — the possible response to the COVID-19 pandemic amid the declining demand for vaccines, https://currentthoughtsontrade.com/2022/04/30/world-trade-organization-12th-ministerial-conference-the-possible-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic-amid-the-declining-demand-for-vaccines/.
Today’s Financial Times article updates challenges at a major vaccine factory in South Africa. Financial Times, Africa’s top Covid vaccine plant faces uncertain future after production halted, May 1, 2022, https://www.ft.com/content/ffaaff95-1c1d-41df-b02e-f7c31acdcadf. The articles states, in part, that
“Production at Africa’s largest Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant has been halted for the past
month because of a collapse in demand, putting its future in doubt and threatening to undermine
efforts to build a homegrown vaccine industry on the continent.
“Executives at Aspen Pharmacare, a South Africa-based pharmaceutical company that has produced
about 180mn doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, fear they will have to permanently shut
their two Covid jab production lines, unless a new order comes in shortly.”
The need globally to achieve WHO objectives of 70% vaccination rates by this summer which focus on low-income and lower middle-income countries which have low vaccination rates are not related in 2022 to capacity or availability of vaccines but rather the low uptake rate in many countries. Joint efforts of multilateral organizations like the WHO, IMF, World Bank and WTO are important as are national efforts to increase assistance on addressing health infrastructure. On vaccines, changes to intellectual property will not solve the vaccination situation in 2022.