“Monumental Moment”: U.S. Backs Waiving COVID Vaccine Patent Rights After Months of Blocking Talks

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: In what the World Health Organization is describing as a “monumental moment,” the Biden administration has announced it now supports temporarily waiving the intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines. India and South Africa first proposed the waiver in October, but the United States and other wealthy nations blocked the World Trade Organization from even opening negotiations on the proposal. Supporters of the waiver say it critically needed to gear up the production level of vaccines for the Global South as the pandemic rapidly spreads in India, Latin America and other areas where few vaccines…

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As Global Pandemic Worsens, U.S. Keeps Blocking Vaccine Patent Waivers Amid Big Pharma Lobbying

Big Pharma has hired an army of lobbyists to pressure U.S. lawmakers to block an effort at the World Trade Organization to loosen intellectual property rules on COVID-19 vaccines, which would allow countries around the world to ramp up production, vaccinate more people and bring the pandemic to an end sooner. Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are demanding a temporary waiver on vaccine patents, but rich countries, including the U.S. under both the Trump and Biden administrations, have opposed the move. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, says there is a “glut” of vaccines going to wealthy countries while…

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Skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across the Suez Canal is blocking global shipping

A skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal continues to block global shipping. At least 150 other vessels are sitting idle waiting for the obstruction to be cleared, authorities said. The Ever Given is a Panama-flagged ship that carries cargo between Asia and Europe. It ran aground on Tuesday 23 March in the narrow, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. Evergreen Marine Corp, a Taiwan-based company that operates the ship, said in a statement that the Ever Given had been overcome by strong winds as it entered the canal from the Red Sea. None of its containers had sunk. Resolution Efforts to free the…

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100+ Countries Push to Loosen WTO Rules on Vaccine Patents. Why Is the U.S. Still Blocking the Way?

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: As the global COVID death toll nears two-and-a-half million, half a million of those deaths here in the United States, we begin today’s show looking at how intellectual property rights are preventing much of the world from obtaining COVID vaccines. In the United States, over 45 million people have received at least their first dose of a vaccine. But across much of the world, COVID vaccines will not be available for months, if not years. The United Nations recently warned 130 countries have not received any vaccines at all, leading to what some have…

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