(PoliticalLookout.com)- An international coalition that is working to find and distribute a vaccine for COVID-19 across the world won’t include the United States. That’s because that group is associated with the World Health Organization.
The federal government made that announced on Tuesday, as the Trump administration continues to separate itself from the WHO. The president announced this summer that the U.S. would fully withdrawal from the organization next year because of its faulty response to the coronavirus pandemic, and its apparent favoritism shown to China.
The group is called Covax, and it’s led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the WHO. Its aim is to purchase 2 billion doses of shots for the COVID-19 vaccine from various makers by the end of next year. The plan is to distribute them to people worldwide.
Last week, the WHO said Covax has plans to work with manufacturers of the various vaccines in development to provide equitable access to effective and safe vaccines in countries throughout the world. There are 172 countries that are discussing the situation with Covax right now.
The European Commission is contributing 400 million Euros, or 478 million U.S. dollars, to the effort. The WHO also recently said Germany was joining the group.
The United States, by contrast, will proceed independent of any WHO effort. As White House spokesman Judd Deere said:
“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.”
Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, apparently said he had “interest in exploring some type of role in Covax … but there was resistance in some corners of the government and a belief that the U.S. has enough coronavirus vaccine candidates in advanced clinical trials that it can go it alone,” according to a Washington Post report.
For its part, the WHO continues to warn against “vaccine nationalism.” As Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of the WHO said:
“For the world to recover faster, it has to recover together, because it’s a globalized world: the economies are intertwined.”
The prime minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, agreed, saying:
“Equal access to a COVID-19 vaccine is the key to beating the virus and paving the way for recovery from the pandemic. This cannot be a race with a few winners, and the COVAC Facility is an important part of the solution — making sure all countries can benefit from access to the world’s largest portfolio of candidates and fair and equitable distribution of vaccine doses.”
And Suerie Moon, the co-director of the Global Health Center at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said:
“When the U.S. says it is not going to participate in any sort of multilateral effort to secure vaccines, it’s a real blow.”
And while it might be a blow, it’s probably not surprising that the Trump administration doesn’t want to join any coalition that’s associated with the WHO.