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.
NEW: @SenSanders says the U.S. has “a moral responsibility” to help the rest of the world in the fight against Covid.
It is also “in our self-interest. Because if this pandemic continues to spread in other countries, it is going to come back and bite us at one point or another.” pic.twitter.com/OsOPdqzryg
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 2, 2021
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.”
When asked about pressure on the White House to temporarily waive patent rules for vaccines, WH national sec. adviser Jake Sullivan says “we should have a way forward in the coming days.” https://t.co/Q1ZKAFHT94 pic.twitter.com/dOetQidWQd
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 2, 2021