U.S. vaccines may be able to make up for India’s export controls: World Bank president

The president of the World Bank says that while a shortage of vaccines remains the biggest obstacle to inoculating people in the developing world, increased production in the United States may be able to meet growing demand. 

“We, the World Bank, have programs in 28 countries now and very quickly [we will have] 50 countries ready to provide capacity to actually administer vaccines. But still, the delivery schedules are the biggest challenge,” David Robert Malpass told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics in an interview airing today.

Malpass said that India’s decision to restrict exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India after a terrifying second wave started to sweep across the country has been a significant factor in the vaccine shortage in developing nations.

“But the good news side — the production runs in the U.S. have exceeded people’s high hopes. And so, the volumes of vaccines available are going up. And there should be some way to balance that,” he told guest host David Common. 

While the World Trade Organization is considering a proposal to waive patents on vaccines, Malpass said, the World Bank instead supports licensing vaccine patents to developing countries and providing funding to support production.

“The part of the World Bank called the International Finance Corporation has funding and makes debt and equity investments in companies in the developing world to make vaccines. And we’ll be making announcements on that over the next two weeks,” he said.

You can watch full episodes of Power & Politics on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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