President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomes the support of the United States’ Biden-Harris Administration for a temporary and targeted waiver of intellectual property protections that apply to COVID-19 vaccines.

The United States government announced on Wednesday, 5 May 2021, that the COVID-19 pandemic was a global health crisis which called for extraordinary measures.

The United States said it believed strongly in intellectual property protections. However, in service of ending the pandemic, it would at forthcoming negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) support the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

President Ramaphosa welcomes the position adopted by the United States as an important reinforcement of a campaign led by South Africa and India on behalf of emerging economies that face vaccine shortages and production challenges.

The anticipated temporary waiver provides a global response to COVID-19. The proposal establishes a global solution to enhance manufacturing and boost supply capacity, and enables coordination and access to information currently under patent protection.

For countries that do not currently have manufacturing capacity on certain medical technologies, the waiver could open up more supply options and avoid countries being reliant on only one or two suppliers. Where supply-capacity currently exists, it can be repurposed to COVID-vaccine production and in this way improve the supply available to all nations.

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