Amid calls to waive patent protections on COVID vaccines, the Biden administration has signaled its support to share the technology with other nations that are still struggling with the virus. Other Countries such as India are currently experiencing a surge with COVID-19, and are in need of vaccines more so than the United States.
According to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, a temporary waiver of protections would allow other nations to manufacture and produce the vaccines that are desperately needed.
“The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections,” Tai said via a statement, “but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”
However, it would take time to reach the “consensus” needed to waive the protections under the World Trade Organization’s rules, and according to U.S. officials, it wouldn’t have an immediate effect on global supplies of vaccines.
Via a tweet, the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, said that they welcomed the waiver and that the decision was “leadership in action. “History will remember this decision as a great act of humanity.”
More than one hundred countries have also supported the proposal. Last month, 110 members of Congress – all Democrats – sent Biden a letter urging him to support the protection waiver.