Acting Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced at a hearing on Tuesday that President-elect Biden will put the United States into the COVAX initiative – the global effort from the World Health Organization and other groups to ensure every country has access to COVID-19 vaccines.
why does it matter: Practically complete The world signed COVAX, regardless of The United States and Russia. It is expected to be the only source of vaccines for some of the world’s poorest countries, and needs additional funding to achieve its goal of vaccinating at least 20% of the population in every country by the end of 2021.
- COVAX is designed so that high- and middle-income countries provide funding to develop and distribute vaccines, effectively supporting low-income countries’ access in the process.
- The United States is likely to play the role of the funder, not the recipient, given the hundreds of millions of doses the country has already bought directly.
- what do you want to watch: Canada is developing a mechanism that would allow countries that purchased more doses than they ultimately needed to donate through COVAX.
what does he say: “We strongly believe we can do it – ensuring every American gets the vaccine, but also helping to make sure that others around the world who want it can access it,” Blinken said of joining COVAX.
the other side: The Trump administration refused to join, citing China’s influence over the WHO.
- Blinken said that while the WHO “needs to be fixed”, the United States is better off getting a seat at the table.