US Lawmakers Applaud Biden For Temporary Patent Waiver On Covid Vaccines
US lawmakers have applauded President Joe Biden for the temporary waiver of Covid vaccines (File)
US lawmakers have applauded President Joe Biden for the temporary waiver of some Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules to accelerate manufacturing and distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
Congressman James Clyburn said the announcement will not only help vulnerable populations in other countries, but it will protect all Americans from the risk of variants that threaten to undermine the recent success in administering vaccinations and reducing infections.
"I commend the Biden-Harris administration on today's announcement in support of the temporary waiver of certain intellectual property rules in order to accelerate the delivery of much-needed coronavirus vaccines to people around the world," the chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis said.
"The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis and requires global solutions. As we have watched the virus devastate countries around the world, it has become increasingly clear that our nation's ability to fully emerge from this crisis is threatened by the spread of the virus elsewhere," he said.
Clyburn said ensuring that our global partners have the tools they need to deliver safe and effective vaccines to people around the world as quickly as possible is crucial in order to save lives and bring the coronavirus pandemic to an end.
Influential Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone welcomed the announcement by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
"The United States must do everything in its power to ensure vaccines are accessible worldwide as soon as possible," he said.
On the other hand, The Wall Street Journal in an editorial slammed Biden for such a move.
"Who will invest in future therapies when the White House helps other governments steal?" it asked.
"The administration's WTO waiver will break patents and legal protections for vaccine makers. Investors will be less likely to fund new drug research if they think their own government will betray them under political pressure. Chalk up another damaging victory for the Congressional left," the daily said.
India and South Africa have been pushing a resolution at the WTO that would force pharmaceutical companies to hand over their COVID vaccine and therapy IP to manufacturers in low-income countries.
The waiver is backed by some 100 other low-income countries, progressive groups and more than 100 Democratic Congress members, the major financial daily said.
On Thursday, Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu had a virtual meeting with Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and South African Ambassador to the US Nomaindiya Mfeketo on the Biden administration's decision.
Jayapal, who is chairman of the powerful Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. has been one of the biggest advocates of TRIPS waiver.
During the conference, they discussed important issues relating to global public health, including the TRIPS waiver.
"We thanked the Congresswoman for her steadfast support for the TRIPS waiver proposal," Sandhu said in a tweet.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)