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US may consider waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines: White House

By Yonhap

Published : April 28, 2021 - 09:06

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The captured image from US news network C-Span shows White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki speaking in a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Tuesday. (C-Span) The captured image from US news network C-Span shows White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki speaking in a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Tuesday. (C-Span)
The United States may consider waiving the intellectual property (IP) rights of its COVID-19 vaccines to help expedite global production, the White House said Tuesday, amid a global shortage of what many countries consider to be safer and more effective vaccines produced here in the US.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, however, said no decision has been made.

"We have to evaluate whether it's more effective to manufacture here and provide, supply to the world, or the IP waiver is an option," she said when asked if the US may waive its vaccine patents to the World Trade Organization, which would allow the production of generic vaccines elsewhere.

"There has not been a recommendation made from USTR, nor has the president made a decision," she added.

The White House earlier announced a plan to send as many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries pending on the outcome of its safety review by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Many countries, including India, have requested US support for their battles against the pandemic as many of them currently face vaccine shortages.

South Korea, a key US ally in Asia, has also asked the US to advance COVID-19 vaccines under its proposed swap arrangement that would allow the US to be paid back later in vaccines.

Psaki said her country is looking at ways to maximize global production of vaccines.

"And there are a lot of different ways to do that right now," she said. "That's one of the ways, but we have to assess what makes the most sense." (Yonhap)