Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Oxfam Reaction to Announced US Support of WTO Trips Waiver on COVID Vaccines

WASHINGTON -

In response to today’s announcement that the US Trade Representative is supporting waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, Abby Maxman, Oxfam America’s President and CEO, made the following statement:

"President Biden and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai have recognized that Pharma’s ‘business as usual’ is killing us. In this moment of crisis, we applaud their willingness to pursue a new path that prioritizes public health over private profits.

"Today, we celebrate the momentous decision by President Biden and his administration to engage with the rest of the world to pull down all barriers standing in the way of everyone everywhere getting access to COVID vaccines.

"This is a testament to the widespread public movement calling for an end to vaccine monopolies. It is also a testament to an administration that listens and is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat COVID-19.

"Over the past year, nurses, doctors, Nobel Laureates, former heads of state, artists, economists, public health activists and more than two million people from around the world have rallied together to call on President Biden to reassert the US’s moral and public leadership on the world stage.  Today President Biden answered that call.

"We are at a crucial inflexion point in the fight against the coronavirus, yet we have remained essentially at the mercy of a handful of giant pharmaceutical corporations that have monopoly control over the life-saving technologies we all need. This may now begin to change.

"Loosening the monopoly grip that pharmaceutical companies have on these life-saving vaccines is an essential step toward increased manufacturing that would lead to worldwide immunization, helping the US and everyone else. We will now look to the White House for leadership in a strong WTO outcome, in urgently insisting on the transfer of technologies through the World Health Organization Covid-19 Technology Access pool, and in investing strategically to build up regional vaccine hubs to defeat this and future pandemics.

"The horrific situation in India is a warning to all of us that if we don’t move urgently to share the vaccine technology and scale up manufacturing so everyone, everywhere can have access to these lifesaving vaccines, we will never get the upper hand on COVID anywhere.”

###

Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. We help people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, and save lives in disasters.

Citing Need for 'New, Inclusive Leadership,' Chuy García Files for Chicago Mayoral Race

"We have an opportunity to elect a trusted and experienced leader with a history of building coalitions and a vision for a brighter future for all Chicagoans," said the Democratic congressman.

Jessica Corbett ·


On Cyber Monday, Climate Activists Take Aim at Fashion Industry

"The fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries globally. We can all do better, but it's on companies to make this industry better for workers, the planet, and consumers alike."

Jessica Corbett ·


Biden Accused of Selling Out Rail Workers by Urging Congress to Prevent Strike

"Biden is siding with corporate rail bosses over the rank-and-file workers who voted against this agreement," said one progressive commentator after the president urged lawmakers to take action to force through a deal without paid sick leave.

Brett Wilkins ·


Analysis Finds State Legislators Proposed 306 Bills Targeting Trans People in Past 2 Years

"Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we're obsessed with knocking them out of public office," said one rights group.

Julia Conley ·


Biden Mulls Sending Long-Range Missiles to Ukraine

While Ukrainians and supporters welcomed Boeing's proposal to arm Ukrainian forces with long-range precision-guided bombs, one anti-war voice accused the American military-industrial complex of "dictating the U.S. foreign policy and profiteering from wars."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo