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Biden Under Pressure as World Health Organization Presses for Waiver on Vaccine Patent Rights

HeadlineMay 04, 2021

The Biden administration is under increasing pressure to support a waiver of patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines, as the World Trade Organization prepares to meet Wednesday and Thursday. Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are pushing for a waiver to allow countries to ramp up production, vaccinate more people and bring the pandemic to an end sooner. On Monday, the head of the World Health Organization said a WTO rule allowing for a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights was written specifically to address global emergencies like the pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “The provision of waiving IP was meant for this condition, for emergencies, and this is unprecedented.”

On Monday, Moderna said it would make 500 million doses of its vaccine available to poorer countries beginning late this year. Kate Elder, senior vaccines policy adviser for Doctors Without Borders, welcomed Moderna’s announcement but noted the vast bulk of the doses are scheduled for 2022. She tweeted, ”DOSES ARE NEEDED NOW.”

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