US makes major U-turn on waiver of Covid vaccine patents!

Washington DC - The US government supports the waiver of intellectual property protections on vaccines against Covid-19 in order to battle the pandemic more effectively, an official said on Wednesday.

Protesters demanded the suspension of vaccine patents during an International Labour Day event in New York.
Protesters demanded the suspension of vaccine patents during an International Labour Day event in New York.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The US stands behind protecting intellectual property, but "these extraordinary times and circumstances call for extraordinary measures," US trade ambassador Katherine Tai said.

The US will work together with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish an agreement, Tai said.

This could, however, take time, she said, given the principle of consensus and the complexity of the issue.

Washington's goal is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as quickly as possible, Tai said.

More than 100 WTO member countries want to suspend patents on the vaccines to enable more companies to produce vaccines in more countries.

However, some countries with strong pharmaceutical manufacturers and company representatives have blocked the plan that was launched by South Africa and India.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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