US discusses wider distribution, India calls for waiver of patent protection
Ground staff unload U.S. coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief supplies at the cargo terminal at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, April 30, 2021.
Prakash Singh | Reuters
WASHINGTON – White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on Sunday that the Biden administration was seeking to distribute the coronavirus vaccine in India and other countries now that millions of Americans have received their doses.
In recent weeks, India has been grappling with a skyrocketing increase in new coronavirus infections. Over the weekend, India reported 400,000 daily cases, bringing the country’s cumulative total to 19,557,457 cases, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins. The peak may have been triggered by a highly contagious variant of Covid, known as B.1.617, which was first identified in the country.
The variant has since been identified in other countries, including the United States.
On Friday, the White House announced that it restrict travel from India as the country works to counter its surge in Covid-19 infections.
“We are delivering aid to India,” Klain said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” show.
Klain said the United States sent therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and protective gear to the world’s largest democracy as well as essential raw materials for vaccine production.
“Our US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will be going to the WTO next week to start discussions on how we can get this vaccine more widely distributed, more widely authorized, more widely shared,” he said. said when asked if the Biden administration would relax patent protections on the coronavirus vaccine.
Klain added that he expected the White House to have more to say on the matter in the coming days.
Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the lifting of patent protections for the coronavirus vaccine with Biden, according to a reading of the call. Easing would give governments faster and more affordable access to life-saving doses.
Last week, the Biden administration announced it would immediately make available the raw materials needed for the production of coronavirus vaccines in India. The United States’ response came after Britain, France and Germany pledged to help India, the world’s largest democracy. Rich countries have been criticized in recent days for the hoarding of the raw materials necessary for the realization of the photographs.