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New World Trade Organization Chief Warns Against Vaccine Nationalism

HeadlineFeb 16, 2021

The World Health Organization has granted emergency use authorization to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It’s just the second vaccine, after Pfizer’s, to be approved for the WHO’s COVAX initiative, aimed at bringing vaccines to lower-income countries across the world. On Monday, the new head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, warned against vaccine nationalism, saying attempts by wealthier nations to hoard vaccines would backfire.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: “The pandemic is a problem of the global commons. So taking care of the population and being nationalistic with respect to vaccines won’t work this time.”

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria’s former finance minister and former managing director of the World Bank. On Monday, she became the first woman and the first African appointed to lead the World Trade Organization.

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