President Trump announced Tuesday that the US will not participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, in part because of the World Health Organization’s involvement in the initiative. Covax is a “global collaboration” aimed at accelerating the testing, developing, and distributing of Covid vaccines and treatments” and with the goal of providing “fair and equitable access for every country in the world.” Over 172 countries are currently involved in the project which was formed by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Left condemns the move. Lawrence Gostin, Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington DC, noted that it is a “huge gamble” for the US to “go-it-alone.”
“‘America First’ doesn’t apply to pandemics. Viruses don’t observe national borders. If anyone is at risk, we all are. Refusing to cooperate with other countries on vaccines will kill people.”Dr. Angela Rasmussen, Associate Research Scientist at the Center of Infection and Immunity at the Columbia University School of Public Health
Trump’s go-it-alone strategy has already given us the highest death toll in the world. At his inaugural, he spoke of “American carnage” and he now seems determined to make it a reality. https://t.co/jpLkt3X30u— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) September 1, 2020
Some on the Right believe that the benefits of international partnership are outweighed by the negatives of coupling with the World Health Organization. According to the Pew Research Center, only 28% of Republicans have a favorable view of WHO’s virus response.
“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.”Judd Deere, White House spokesperson
Deere added that the White House will “spare no expense” in its continued pursuit of a vaccine. However, some disagree. “As the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 unfolds, many seem content for this Darwinian impulse to reappear,” stated Michael Gerson, a conservative columnist known for butting heads with other conservatives, who condemned the notion of “vaccine nationalism.”