Okonjo-Iweala, the World Trade Organization’s incoming chief on Monday warned against “vaccine nationalism’ that would slow progress in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and could erode economic growth for all countries - rich and poor.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe. Vaccine nationalism at this time just will not pay, because the variants are coming. If other countries are not immunized, it will just be a blow back,” she said. “It’s unconscionable that people will be dying elsewhere, waiting in a queue, when we have the technology.”
Okonjo-Iweala said studies showed that the global economy would lose $9 trillion in potential output if poor countries were unable to get their populations vaccinated quickly, and about half of the impact would be borne by rich countries.
“Both on a human health basis, as well as an economic basis, being nationalistic at this time is very costly to the international community,” she said.