COVID-19 vaccines: US to support India, South Africa’s initiative for patent waiver
Washington, May 06: The United States will support an initiative at the World Trade Organisation to wave Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) protection for COVID-19 vaccines.
This decision by the Biden Administration will support the increased production of vaccines globally. This initiative was first floated by India and South Africa.
United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that the administration strongly believes in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines.
She also said that extraordinary times required extraordinary measures. "We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) needed to make that happen. Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved," Tai said.
Over 100 countries have supported the proposal. US President Joe Biden has been under immense pressure domestically to support a waver with 110 Democratic Members of Congress writing to him last week on the issue. In April Bernie Sanders and nine Democratic Senators had also written to the President in support of a waiver.
"The Administration's aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible," Tai said.
"As our vaccine supply for the American people is secured, the Administration will continue to ramp up its efforts - working with the private sector and all possible partners - to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution. It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produce those vaccines," she also added.