White House reviews whether to lift intellectual property shield on Covid-19 vaccines

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Vials of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson via Reuters

The White House is considering whether to lift intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines.

The move would allow other countries to replicate existing vaccines. The United States has so far approved three shots: one developed by American company Pfizer and German-based BioNTech, another produced by U.S. firm Moderna and the third made by American company Johnson & Johnson.

Concerns have grown about the U.S. and a handful of other wealthy countries owning the rights to a disproportionate amount of the global vaccine supply, while other nations struggle to inoculate their people.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has written to the White House supporting the move. Developing nations have also urged the World Trade Organization to make the intellectual property available.

Nearly 19% of American adults, and about 15% of the total population, are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

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