Analysis: What Is the Argument Against Lifting COVID Vaccine Patents?
The world’s major vaccine-producing countries are for the first time opening the door to the suspension of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.
The first was the United States, making the announcement to coincide with the recent G7 ministers’ meeting in London.
In a U-turn from the Trump administration and in view of the havoc the virus is wreaking in countries such as India, the US has said it supports releasing vaccine patents.
This option has been debated for months at the World Trade Organization (WTO), pushed by countries such as South Africa and India. However, the Biden administration’s backing gives a new dimension to the debate.
The European Commission has already said it is willing to discuss the issue. France and Germany have also been in favour.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the US’ announcement: “I commend the United States on its historic decision for vaccine equity and prioritizing the well-being of all people everywhere at a critical time. Now let’s all move together swiftly, in solidarity, building on the ingenuity and commitment of scientists who produced life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.”
Photo courtesy of Daniel Schludi.