Fifteen human rights groups are urging US President Joe Biden to get personally engaged in a long-running fight to enact an intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization, calling his leadership "a moral necessity."
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, Public Citizen and 11 other groups told Biden in a letter that an emergency waiver was urgently needed to combat the pandemic, noting that fewer than 7% of people in low-income countries had received a first Covid-19 vaccine and vaccines remained scarce.
More than 5.4 million people have died of Covid-19 around the world since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Biden reversed the previous US position to endorse a waiver in May, a move that caught some allies by surprise, but there has been little progress since then. The European Union, Britain and Switzerland remain opposed, arguing that issuing such waivers would undercut years of investment and research.