There’s Something Missing From Biden’s Move to Free the Covid Vaccines

Letting people copy Covid vaccines without being sued is good. Helping them do it is better.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new World Trade Organization Director-General on March 1, 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

In a breakthrough for global health, the Biden administration on Wednesday announced it would support an international waiver of intellectual property law for Covid-19 vaccines, medications, and medical supplies during the pandemic. In other words: Countries in dire need of the vaccines or therapeutics currently being given to Americans would be able to copy them without fear of being sued. International officials and activists applauded the decision as a necessary move to end the global spread of Covid-19—one that could set a precedent for future health crises.

But freeing vaccine patents is just the first step. Next, companies need to share how to make the vaccines—known as technology transfer—and governments need to provide the resources, from raw materials to production capacity, to ramp up global vaccine production in a matter of weeks instead of years. Read more at The New Republic.

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