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US Approves Waiving Intellectual Property Rules On Vaccines

President Joe Biden speaks during an event at the State Dining Room of the White House May 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden delivered remarks on his administration’s implementation of the American Rescue Plan. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is throwing its support behind efforts to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to speed the end of the pandemic.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government’s position in a Wednesday statement, amid World Trade Organization talks over easing global trade rules to enable more countries to produce more of the life-saving vaccines.

“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” Tai said in the statement.

But she cautioned that it would take time to reach the required global “consensus” to waive the protections under WTO rules, and U.S. officials said it would not have an immediate effect on the global supply of COVID-19 shots.

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