Biden Administration Supports Patent Waiver for Covid-19 Vaccines

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai has released a statement announcing the Biden-Harris Administration's support for waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. The statement notes that there is a global health crisis, and says "the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures". The statement says that the administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but will now support the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines. "We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization 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."

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky from Chicago, have welcomed the move. They had earlier asked President Biden for the waiver to allow other countries, many in poor regions of the world, to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccines. African leaders and a broad coalition that includes former world leaders, Nobel Prize-winning economists and hundreds of civil society groups advocate the waiver as a necessary step toward ending monopoly control over vaccine production and boosting manufacturing to meet global need.

United States President Joe Biden observes dosage preparations during a tour of the vaccination center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.

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