Zovko: The EU should follow the US and support the waiver of Covid-19 vaccine patents

Brussels, 6 May 2021,

The US administration announced yesterday their support to waive the patent rules on Covid-19 vaccines. In a statement by Katherine Tai, the US trade representative, the US declares to remain a strong believer in intellectual property protection, but that the extraordinary circumstances of the current global call for extraordinary measures. By waiving the patents, the US hopes to enable a boost in the production and distribution of the vaccines across the world.

Member of the European Parliament Željana Zovko applauds the announcement and calls on the European Union to follow this approach. “While the European vaccination strategy starts to roll out and is gaining effectiveness, we continue to see the global increase of infections and deaths due to the virus. The situations in Latin America, in India and also in our immediate neighbourhood are an emergency of the highest grade. These people need urgent access to vaccines and by waiving the patents, vaccines could be produced at a wider scale and offered at more affordable prices.” Zovko said.

To waive the patents, a decision by consensus of all WTO members is needed. The proposal tabled by South Africa and India has been backed by more than 100 delegations, but so far, the EU, the US and many other G7 members were blocking this decision. The change of position of the US could impact the views of the other opposing delegations. “The decision of the US is a major step in the fight of the pandemic. I call on the European Union to follow this line and to accelerate the vaccine production.” Zovko stated.

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