The Biden administration on Wednesday announced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines with the aim of getting “as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.”
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement that the coronavirus 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.
The move would allow developing countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines. But Tai said it would take time to negotiate the waivers under 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.
“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.”
These extraordinary times and circumstances of call for extraordinary measures.
— Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) May 5, 2021