Politics House Republicans urge opposition to vaccine patent waiver
Vaccines aplenty but some Californians struggle to get one
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hearing of excess vaccine and unfilled appointments frustrates Dr. Aaron Roland, a family physician who has been lobbying for doses to inoculate his patients, many of whom are low-income, immigrants or elderly. The San Francisco Bay Area doctor has more than 200 patients who have inquired when he will offer inoculations against the coronavirus. One patient, who is 67, said he walked into a Safeway supermarket because signs said doses were available.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday urged the U.S. trade representative to continue opposing a waiver to loosen patent and intellectual property protections on coronavirus vaccines.
The Biden administration is facing pressure from the international community, drug pricing advocates and congressional Democrats to back a move that would waive an international intellectual property agreement that protects pharmaceutical trade secrets.
The waiver proposal is being spearheaded by India and South Africa, which argue it would enable lower-income countries to manufacture the vaccines themselves, especially in light of the record-breaking wave of COVID-19 infections in India.
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 7, 2021
Players in the COVID protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Anaheim – TBA
The Biden administration is expected to set its position clearly at a World Trade Organization meeting on Wednesday.
to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the Republicans, led by Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Darrell Issa (Calif.), said the waiver would do little to improve public health.
"The requested waiver is extraordinarily broad and unnecessary to accomplish the goal of giving as many people as possible access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, including in developing countries," they wrote. "Rather, the waiver would undermine the very innovation that has led to the record-breaking rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines already saving lives around the world, and it would not meaningfully improve vaccine availability."
Overnight Health Care: Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers | Moderna reports positive early results for booster shots against COVID-19 variants | Federal judge vacates CDC's eviction moratorium
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. More than a year into pandemic restrictions, we thought we'd seen it all. But in D.C., while indoor weddings are allowed, it's illegal to dance. Footloose comparisons are fair game.If you have any tips, email us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8 Today: The White House will back a World Trade Organization proposal to waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines. A court vacated the CDC's eviction moratorium, Moderna has positive results from a booster shot, and the U.S. birth rate hit a record low.
The lawmakers said the international community should instead focus on overcoming "the real obstacles faced by developing countries in accessing vaccines and treatments, which does not require waiving intellectual property (IP) rights."
The Republicans suggested focusing on programs such as COVAX and the ACT Accelerator initiative.
"These efforts are providing real solutions for countries that need access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments without dismantling IP protections, even temporarily," the lawmakers wrote.
Democrats and international advocates argue President Biden has a moral imperative to act and to help the world and that sharing vaccine IP is the best way to do it.
Administration officials have not tipped their hand, but White House chief of staff Ron Klain suggested when pressed recently that patents and other IP protections are not the main barriers to increasing global vaccine access.
Some experts similarly caution that simply waiving patents would not solve the problem, given that the vaccines are very difficult to produce. Having the recipe for a vaccine does not necessarily mean a drugmaker could produce it.
In an on Monday, top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci suggested he was "agnostic" to the idea of an IP waiver but did not want to spend time being tied up in court because of the inevitable pharmaceutical industry lawsuits.
"If you take too long, people are going to die," Fauci told the paper. "There are other ways to ramp up vaccine production around the world."
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021 .
Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Calgary – TBA