Inside Story

Will rich countries lift waivers on patents for COVID vaccines?

Leaders of poorer countries say lifting waivers will secure a vaccine for their nations.

Poor nations are stepping up their fight for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines.

They are trying to convince rich nations to support their request for a waiver on patent rights, saying acquiring vaccine knowledge could help them boost production.

The US is one of several nations resisting the request at the world trade body, arguing it would discourage innovation.

President Joe Biden must now decide whether to change course and support the move.

Separately, the country is about to gain control of a patent that would make it the owner of the technology at the heart of several vaccines.

Those drugs are built on this technology, so other producers will have to get licences from the US to use it once the patent is issued.

But will the US use the opportunity to pressure drugmakers for more equal access?

Presenter: Kim Vinell


Thomas Pogge – Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at Yale University and co-founder of Incentives for Global Health

Samantha Vanderslott – Researcher at the Oxford Vaccine Group

Max Lawson – Head of Inequality Policy at Oxfam International