The Trump administration has said it won’t join the worldwide effort to develop, manufacture and distribute a coronavirus vaccine, partly because the WHO is involved, according to The Washington Post.
More than 170 countries are poised to join the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, or COVAX, the WHO reported last week. The collaboration is meant to speed up vaccine development, create doses for all countries and distribute them to people who face the highest risks for contracting COVID-19.
The plan is backed by many U.S. allies, including Germany, Japan and the European Commission and appealed to some members of the Trump administration, the newspaper reported. However, President Trump has criticized the WHO for what he calls its “China-centric” response to the pandemic, so the U.S. won’t partner with the organization.
“The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the newspaper.
The COVAX plan was created to discourage hoarding and focus on getting vaccines to high-risk people in every country. When countries opt out, that makes it more difficult to meet the goals of lower vaccine costs, better health outcomes and fewer COVID-19 deaths, the newspaper reported. The decision also likely eliminates the chance that the U.S. could secure vaccine doses from a pool of vaccine candidates across the world.
In reality, the vaccine development process will require a global supply chain to manufacture and distribute doses to people, including vaccine components such as syringes and vials.
“The behavior of countries when it comes to vaccines in this pandemic will have political repercussions beyond public health,” Suerie Moon, co-director of the Global Health Center at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, told the newspaper. “It’s about: Are you a reliable partner, or at the end of the day, are you going to keep all your toys for yourself?”
Washington Post, “U.S. says it won’t join WHO-linked effort to develop, distribute coronavirus vaccine.”
WHO, “172 countries and multiple candidate vaccines engaged in COVID-19 vaccine Global Access Facility.”