US backs worldwide at-cost Covid vaccine distribution

New York, May 2 (EFE).- US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the Joe Biden administration is working to get pharmaceutical firms that have been developing anti-Covid-19 vaccines to distribute them throughout the world “at cost” with the aim of bringing the pandemic to an end once and for all.

Sullivan told ABC News that the administration believes pharmaceutical companies “should be supplying at scale and at cost to the entire world so that there is no barrier to everyone getting vaccinated.”

The Biden advisor also said that US Trade Representative Katherine Tai was conducting “intensive” talks with the World Trade Organization to overcome the problems of access to the vaccine, adding that there should be a route to follow to this objective in the coming days.

Sullivan’s remarks came shortly after a group of 10 Democratic lawmakers headed by the representative of the party’s most progressive wing, Sen. Bernie Sanders, had asked that the government demand that big pharma firms temporarily cede the patents on their coronavirus vaccines so that countries that need them can develop their own vaccines.

The temporary suspension of vaccine patents has been proposed by India and South Africa before the WHO, this pair of countries being two of the ones hardest hit by the virus.

The Democratic lawmakers, in a letter, urged the Biden administration to adopt the temporary exemption to be able to respond more effectively and efficiently to the global pandemic.

On the other hand, Sullivan said that Washington is “proud” of what it has done so far to help India, where each day hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus infections are being confirmed and where hospitals do not have enough supplies to deal with the massive wave of seriously ill patients, although he added that in an emergency of this magnitude the Biden administration wanted to move more quickly and do more.

The US official noted that Washington has dispatched very large military cargo aircraft loaded with basic materials for manufacturing vaccines with an eye toward saving lives, and he said that the administration will continue providing aid to New Delhi as quickly as possible.

Sullivan also said that the administration was concerned about the new variants of the coronavirus, the lives that are being lost and also about the secondary effects that could arise while the pandemic remains completely out of control in India.

On April 24, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had posted on Twitter that: “Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes.”

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