Biden Administration Supports Waiving Vaccine Intellectual Property Rules

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The Biden Administration announced on Wednesday that it supports the waiving of intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines to deliver “as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.”

Katherine Tai, U.S Trade Representative, wrote in a statement that the COVID-19 pandemic calls for “extraordinary measures.” 

“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” she wrote.

This initiative allows developing nations to produce COVID-19 shots. However, Tai added that the negotiation to waiver might take some time under the World Trade Organization rules. 

“Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-backed nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved,” she wrote.

The Biden administration, as well as other richer nations, have faced pressure from humanitarian aid groups to back the waiver, which the virus-hit India has called for. 

“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,” Tai wrote. “It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produce those vaccines.”

Earlier this week, President Biden promised that the U.S will send 10% of the COVID-19 vaccines that it has produced to other countries by July 4.