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Biden administration supports waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it supports waiving intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines, saying "extraordinary circumstances" call for "extraordinary measures."

The move, sought by developing nations, would allow other countries to manufacture vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna without fear of sanctions at the World Trade Organization.

President Joe Biden had pledged during the 2020 campaign that he would not allow patents to stand in the way of other countries manufacturing their own vaccines. Congressional Democrats, as well as former world leaders, had lobbied him to keep that promise.

"The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections," US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement, "but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines."

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