United States support waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines


WASHINGTON, May 5, 2021 – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement on Wednesday, 5th of May announcing the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call 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. We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) needed to make that happen. Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved. 

“The Administration’s aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.  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.  It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produce those vaccines.”

South African and Indian governments have earlier submitted a proposal in the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the temporary waiver of intellectual property rights related to vaccines and treatments against COVID-19 so that they can be more accessible.

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