Kenya backs proposal to waive COVID-19 vaccine patent rights

2021-05-06 09:56:07 GMT2021-05-06 17:56:07(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Thursday welcomed the United States position to temporarily waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to increase global supplies of desperately needed doses.

Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary, Tourism and Wildlife said the international community should now lobby the big pharmaceutical companies to accept and support this move to facilitate the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in Africa.

Balala said the production and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in as many countries as possible are vital to keep everyone safe in this interconnected global village.

"No one is safe until everyone is vaccinated and a waiver of patents on COVID-19 vaccines will make the supply chain more efficient. I am glad U.S. President Joe Biden's administration understands and supports this position," Balala said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The proposal which was first introduced before the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2020 by South Africa and India would cover patents, industrial designs, copyrights, and protection of trade secrets.

Officials said a waiver would make it easier for countries that permit compulsory licensing to allow a manufacturer to export vaccines.

The U.S. on Wednesday agreed to support waiving intellectual property (IP) restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines at the WTO, a breakthrough in the global fight against the pandemic.

"Africa needs to safeguard lives and livelihoods in the tourism and hospitality industry and fully supports the U.S. move to waive COVID-19 vaccines patents because we do not want the continent to be left behind in the rolling out of the vaccines under the new dispensation," Balala said. Enditem