The U.S. isn’t interested in the rest of the world’s brainpower — and manufacturing power — when it comes to developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
More than 170 countries are considering joining the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, aimed at quickly developing a coronavirus vaccine and distributing it to the most vulnerable populations. But the Trump administration said Tuesday it won’t be joining them, in part because the World Health Organization is helping to lead the coalition, The Washington Post reports.
Several U.S. allies, including Japan and Germany, are on board to join the program led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the vaccine alliance Gavi. But the U.S. is still seemingly blaming China and the WHO for coronavirus’ global spread and is taking it out on Covax. White House spokesperson Judd Deere said the U.S. would work with other countries in its vaccine development efforts, “but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.”
The decision is in line with Trump’s “America first” mentality, the Post reports, just like its decision to withdraw from the WHO in the first place. It suggests the U.S. is confident it will develop a vaccine early, and would rather not put its confidence in other countries or necessarily share whatever vaccine it develops with them. But “just from a simple risk management perspective, this is shortsighted,” Kendall Hoyt, an assistant professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, said, likening it to “opting out of an insurance policy.”
Suerie Moon, the co-director of the Global Health Center at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, added that this “will have political repercussions beyond public health.” It’ll show the rest of the world whether the U.S. is “a reliable partner,” or if America’s mentality is about “keep[ing] all your toys for yourself.” Kathryn Krawczyk