Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), released the following statement on reports the Biden Administration intends to purchase 500 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to donate to the world:
“This is exactly what the federal government should be doing: working with the companies who developed life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to make them available to the rest of the world. This news is a reminder of what’s possible when we partner private sector innovation with the public sector’s resources and reach. I hope it will force the Biden Administration to reconsider and withdraw its support for the disastrous TRIPS waiver, which would jeopardize future innovations and effectively turn over American companies’ intellectual property to China and Russia.”
At a May 11th hearing held by the Senate HELP Committee, Senator Burr questioned Administration officials on the delay in donating COVID-19 vaccines doses not approved for U.S. use to countries with limited supply.
Senator Burr has opposed the Biden Administration’s support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, urging officials to instead “work with innovators and manufacturers to continue scaling up production and increase vaccine availability around the world.”