The Trump Administration Refuses to Participate in Global Coronavirus Vaccine Effort – Slate

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Trump and Pence clap on stage behind of a podium while standing in front of a line of American flags.
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The Trump administration says the U.S. will not participate in a collaborative global imitative to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine that can be made available on an equitable basis to countries around the world, rather than strictly to the highest bidder. The effort, known as the Covax facility—which stands for Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access—is part of a broader alliance between the WHO, and two organizations, Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, aimed at securing broader global access to vaccines.

The Covax initiative is currently engaged with most of the world, and has the backing of traditional U.S. allies, such as Japan, Germany, and the European Union, but, not the U.S. The White House’s obstinacy is further evidence that, in addition to abdicating any semblance of global leadership, the Trump administration appears to be willing to risk American lives to continue its political charade that the WHO is to blame for its shambolic response to the pandemic. “The United States will not participate, in part because the White House does not want to work with the WHO, which President Trump has criticized over what he characterized as its ‘China-centric’ response to the pandemic,” the Washington Post reports. “The Covax decision, which has not been previously reported, is effectively a doubling down by the administration on its bet that the United States will win the vaccine race. It eliminates the chance to secure doses from a pool of promising vaccine candidates—a potentially risky approach.”

Participating in the effort does not preclude the U.S., or any country from pursuing other avenues to getting a vaccine to its population, and the Post cites a public health expert comparing the Trump refusal to opting out of an insurance policy. In other words, to make a prideful political point, the Trump administration will not participate in a global effort to save lives that could ultimately mean Americans do not have access to the coronavirus treatment. A White House spokesman emphasized that the administration “will not be constrained by multilateral organizations.” Seems like the country is doing a pretty good job constraining itself already.

Like every policy idea the Trump administration belches up, its refusal to participate globally in fighting a global pandemic is predictably short-sighted politically, economically, morally, every which way. People will resume travel, business will be conducted again; it is in everyone’s interest that the virus does not ricochet around the globe for the next decade. Seems like quite a cost Americans are paying for a Trump policy that really only exists in service of this soundbite by White House spokesman Judd Deere: “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.” Sick burn, guys. Maybe doctors can recite it to Covid patients in emergency rooms around the country.

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