22 February 2021

Politico: “US won’t share vaccine before all Americans receive shots, officials say”

The Biden administration won’t donate to poor countries any of the coronavirus vaccine doses the U.S. has purchased before most Americans are vaccinated, a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

The comments come one day before Biden will join the G7 virtual meeting, where leaders of major industrialized nations are set to address anxiety over a global vaccine rollout that’s left behind poor countries.

President Joe Biden at the meeting — his first multilateral engagement since taking office — will announce the U.S. is directing $4 billion Congress allocated to Gavi in December to help procure coronavirus vaccines for poor countries, the senior official said.

Carmen Paun

The ‘America first’ mentality lives on, even after Trump is no longer US President. His executive order from December to prioritize domestic inoculations is still in place, and President Biden shows no intention of repelling it. The funding for Gavi was approved before Biden was sworn into office, so claiming merit for this measure is hypocritical at best, and inadequate at worst. This effective vaccine export ban in the US also raises the prospect that the US may refuse to release doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the European Union, because the company has insisted that the final manufacturing stages take place in the US.

Despite the virulent criticism directed at the European Union, the region is currently supplying vaccines to Canada and the UK, while the United States is reportedly sitting on tens of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. While I agree that the US should wait for proper trial results before authorizing it, holding on to these doses while other countries are in dire need is a horribly selfish decision – at least distribute them to Canada and Mexico, US’ neighboring countries. Facts speak louder than words – no wonder why perception of the US abroad is deteriorating.

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