On Thursday, Anthony Fauci informed the World Health Organization that the Biden administration would be involved in the WHO vaccine sharing project. That changes America’s approach to President Donald Trump. Fauci says the goal is to ensure “equal access” to vaccines for all countries around the world, both rich and poor.
Americans who are struggling to get vaccinated have a right to know how sharing doses with poor countries will affect their own ability to get vaccinated.
President Biden is under pressure from public health to share supplies of vaccines that the United States has purchased in advance, even before all Americans who want shots receive them.
The vaccine sharing project, with the acronym COVAX, raises money to buy vaccines for poor countries, but also requires richer countries to donate actual doses. The COVAX dose-sharing principles, published on December 1
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus says it is unfair for younger, healthier adults in countries like the United States to receive injections before frail and elderly people in poor countries. He calls it a “catastrophic moral failure.”
Similarly, Kate Elder of Doctors Without Borders objected, “if a healthy 20-year-old in New Jersey is vaccinated in front of a frontline health worker in South Sudan.”
Bruce Eylard, a WHO adviser, said it was unacceptable for a country to vaccinate its entire population before offering doses to the poorest people in poorer countries.
Public health experts at Duke University also say high-risk groups in poor countries should get the vaccine before the American public. A report by the Global Health Innovation Center Duke complains that rich countries are monopolizing initial supply.
A statement from the White House on Thursday about vaccine sharing said the United States would comply once there was “enough” supply. What does “enough” mean? When are only those with the highest risk vaccinated, as suggested by globalists, or when shots are offered to all Americans? The public needs a clear answer to this question.
There are serious reasons to oppose COVAX’s vaccine sharing principles.
First, U.S. taxpayers poured billions into Operation Warp Speed to develop vaccines with the understanding that they would receive a large share of the original production. When Trump refused to join COVAX, the New York Times called the decision “vaccine nationalism,” but Americans desperate to get vaccinated are unlikely to worry about political correctness.
Second, the United States is aiming to reach herd immunity by the summer, which scientists say will require about 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated. Redirecting part of the vaccine supply to COVAX would jeopardize this goal.
On Monday, the International Chamber of Commerce joined the call for a fair distribution of vaccines, arguing that helping poor countries would benefit the economies of the rich. True in the long run, but vaccinating a quarter of the population in each country, as proposed by COVAX, would force the United States and other developed countries to abandon the normal for this year.
Third, with the advent of new variants of viruses, vaccination is becoming an even bigger race against the clock. Otherwise, an option that does not respond to the vaccine may occur. Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine is slightly less effective against the recently identified variant of South Africa. People may need annual accelerators against emerging strains.
In the last two weeks, both the European Union and the United States have been affected by unexpected news of production failures. On Monday, the European Union actually threatened to ban AstraZeneca from exporting any doses until it fulfilled its contractual obligations. The EU puts its own people first.
This is a lesson for America. Vaccine sharing decisions should not be left to public health “experts” whose globalist views are now on the rise in Washington. Helping the world is important, but America must take care of its own first.
Betsy McCaughey is the author of The Next Pandemic.