US waiver of vaccine patent protection is ‘complex issue’: doctor

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Infectious disease physician Dr Payal Patel joins Kristin Myers and Alexis Christoforous of Yahoo Finance to discuss the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic.

Video transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: To talk more about it now and in the whole state of the coronavirus in our country with Doctor Payal Patel, infectious disease doctor. , Doctor Thank you for being with us. You just heard Anjalee’s report, and there is controversy here over what the Biden administration is doing. How necessary is it for the White House to break these patent protections in order to expand global access to vaccines?

PAYAL PATEL: Yes. I think this is a really complex question. And we would think of that as almost the first step in the chain of events that must happen for the vaccine to get into someone’s arm in another country. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. Some people see it as a kind of incentive for the industry to do something faster.

We know that in and of itself if we were to just keep track of all of this it could take until 2022 until it can really affect due to the lack of raw materials how difficult it is to put together vaccines in another country without kind of this infrastructure. But at the same time, such a situation could push more companies to donate vaccines, or the United States to donate vaccines to countries that are currently in need, such as India.

KRISTIN MYERS: And, doctor, I want to turn now to talk about vaccinations – new reports and surveys showing that few parents want to get their children vaccinated. So I have a question – what do you think of some of these survey results? And then more broadly, if we see most American adults getting vaccinated, to what extent is it necessary for children to be vaccinated as well, especially since we have seen that the virus has not affected children as well. severely than adults?

PAYAL PATEL: Yeah, you know, I would think those numbers would change. Unfortunately, we are seeing, even in India now, that many pediatric intensive care units are full. Just in the past month here in Michigan, there have been a number of additional pediatric hospital admissions due to unvaccinated children due to COVID.

Things have changed since the start of the pandemic, and that’s because many people in the United States have been vaccinated. The people we still see being admitted to hospital are the unvaccinated. So thinking about that as a parent myself, as a parent, what I want to do is protect my child, right? And so we know – we can look around looking at the 200 million people in our country who have been vaccinated and are not going to hospital, not getting COVID – if that’s what you want for your child, I would suggest getting them vaccinated.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: What do you think of what’s going on in India right now and how much of an impact could it possibly have on another wave here in the United States? Do you think this is really a possibility?

PAYAL PATEL: It is truly devastating what is happening in India. And you know, the way of thinking about that is – not even as a country, just in little, little groups, right – and so even in the United States, we think about it state to state, sometimes at the county level. What is happening in India is a number – again this is a very complex question. But what is really striking is that less than 3% of the population has been vaccinated.

So there are a ton of people at risk of infection. We see numbers of people who are infected, but there are so many people who don’t go to the hospital, who don’t get tested. So we think the numbers we’re hearing are probably only a fraction of what’s going on.

We are all in the same boat. So thinking about that, India making their own vaccines, giving vaccines to other countries, it really doesn’t help globally. So whatever we can do here to help resolve the crisis, it’s really going to help this to be an afterthought in the future.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, we’ll stop there … Dr. Payal Patel, infectious disease specialist, thank you very much for being with us.



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