President Biden’s aggressive new timetable for the sprint to full vaccine availability — his target for crossing the finish line is May 1 — is welcome news for Americans. But it obscures the fact that to truly protect people living in the United States, it’s essential to get shots into the arms of every person on the planet.
During the second week of March, the world had a chance to engage in multilateral collaboration to share the vaccine technology necessary to reach global herd immunity. At a general meeting of the World Trade Organization, South Africa and India proposed a waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS). That waiver would have temporarily suspended certain vaccine technology patent monopoly protections during the Covid-19 crisis and enabled access to the “recipe” and manufacturing protocols for effective vaccines to be shared with producers around the world.