WTO Reviews Vaccine Patents and Pandemic Response Options

By Olivia Engling

A proposal in front of the World Trade Organization could make it easier for countries to access COVID vaccines. This week the global trade body reviews the proposal to waive pharmaceutical vaccine patents as part of a menu of trade pandemic response policies. 

“Not enough vaccines are getting to developing countries,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Part of the solution is supporting countries to produce the vaccines that they and other countries desperately need."

According to the United Nations, wealthy countries received 82% of COVID vaccine doses, while poor nations received less than 1%. The US government supports WTO action to temporarily waive vaccine patents. The WTO is not expected to act on the proposal until the fall.

“Every moment we delay acting, means more lives lost and more countries face prolonged economic crises,” said LeCompte.

Read about the WTO COVID vaccine patent waiver process here.

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