Congresswoman Barbara Lee Joins Colleagues in Calling for Global Vaccine Access & Swift Waiver Approval

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations released a joint statement alongside Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jesús García (D-IL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Andy Levin (D-MI) calling for a temporary patent waiver for the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines that would allow countries to produce treatments locally and expedite the global vaccine distribution effort. This statement follows a meeting on Friday between the lawmakers, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

“We had a constructive discussion with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and White House COVID-19 Czar Jeff Zients regarding our shared concerns about the tremendous need to make vaccine more accessible around the world. Americans are endangered by the worldwide COVID-19 vaccine shortage that enables this highly contagious, rampant pandemic to spread a path of death and suffering around the globe and to facilitate mutating new variants. The big obstacle to help is Big Pharma, even though these vaccines exist because of the extraordinary investment of taxpayers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Much of the required vaccines should be manufactured abroad near those in greatest need using American technology. We need more urgent action by the Administration to remove any objection to the TRIPS waiver and permit sharing of the intellectual property required for vaccine manufacturing to get underway immediately. To underscore the need for action now, we hope that more taxpayers, public interest advocates, religious and business leaders will join our call on the Administration. With an increasing public outcry, the Administration must act.”