Re: “Weakening IP protections won’t help developing countries fight COVID-19” [Sept. 8, Opinion]:

In Gary Locke’s Op-Ed, he opines that “no expert seriously thinks suspending IP protections will boost vaccine supply.” Seriously? Public health experts around the world, including in the U.S., have made it clear that until more countries are able to produce and deliver the coronavirus vaccine, we will never be rid of this pandemic. It is critical that low-income countries increase their vaccination coverage rates from the current pitiful levels of roughly 1% of the adult population. Low vaccine coverage is exacerbating the spread of new vaccine-resistant variants, first detected overseas, that spread domestically and then abroad.

Temporary patent waivers, combined with a sharing of technical know-how and assistance with logistical support such as special freezers and other equipment, would allow many national systems to produce vaccines for their own countries or regions. We can’t just depend on a handful of corporations to vaccinate the world. The work of Americans is not to do it for them, but to allow local production to proceed.

Locke is either seriously misinformed or is simply, true to form, deeply invested in maintaining trade protections for the big pharmaceuticals — to the detriment of the health of all of us.

Mary Anne Mercer, Seattle