Sanders: Waiving COVID-19 vaccine patents both practical and 'moral' responsibility for U.S.

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Tim O'Donnell
·2 min read
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday said it's not only a "moral responsibility" for the United States to help vaccinate the rest of the world — including India which is experiencing a devastating surge — against COVID-19. It's "also in our own self-interest," Sanders argued, because otherwise "this pandemic ... is going to come back and bite us at one point or another."

To avoid that, he told NBC News' Chuck Todd, "we should deal with this issue through the World Trade Organization of protecting the intellectual property rights of the drug companies." In other words, Sanders wants to waive patents so poorer countries can produce their own vaccines, rather than relying only on excess supply from wealthier nations.

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ABC News' Martha Raddatz and CBS News' John Dickerson pressed National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, respectively, about the issue on Sunday, with Raddatz noting that Sanders and other senators are pressuring President Biden to act. Sullivan and Klain didn't provide clear answers, but they both said U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is working on the matter and there should be an update in the "coming days."

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