U.S. Refuses to Join Global Coronavirus Vaccine Efforts
The U.S. has decided to stick to its isolationist strategy for developing, producing and distributing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that it will not take part in the international efforts led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to distribute a vaccine equally around the world, according to The Washington Post.
That means that if a vaccine is first developed in the U.S., it will stay here and likely go to the highest bidders rather than the corners of the world that most need it, but are unable to pay for it.
Last month, the WHO announced that 172 countries around the world were joining together to form the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, which will work to develop, test and distribute the vaccine equally, according to The Guardian. COVAX is a joint effort put together by the WHO, along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Asked on Monday if the U.S. would join COVAX, White House spokesperson Judd Deere issued a statement that read: "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."
COVAX plans to purchase and distribute roughly 2 billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2021. On Tuesday, the European Commission announced that it will contribute $478 million to the effort, which includes many U.S. trading partners and allies, like Germany and Japan.
The refusal by the U.S. to participate in a global effort to fight the coronavirus is worrying to public health officials and to academics who see international cooperation as a necessity to stopping the virus in an interconnected world. It also is an ominous harbinger when facing other international threats, such as the climate crisis.
Kendall Hoyt, an assistant professor at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, told The Washington Post that the move was akin to opting out of an insurance policy.
Experts say that the idea beyond COVAX is to discourage hoarding of the vaccine and to focus first on high-risk populations around the world, which, in the long run, will benefit the global community, according to The Washington Post.
"No one is safe until everyone is safe. No one country has access to research and development, manufacturing and all the supply chain for all essential medicines and materials," said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in August, as The Guardian reported. "We need to prevent vaccine nationalism."
Some in the Trump administration see the benefit in international cooperation. According to The Washington Post, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun both wanted to explore a role for the U.S. in COVAX, but were shut down by administration officials who believe the U.S. has enough vaccine candidates that it can take a nationalist strategy.
However, that's a bet that can have dire consequences for the U.S. either way. If a U.S. vaccine candidate does not work, the country will have no vaccine while the rest of the world does. Alternatively, if a U.S. vaccine does work, then the country will have a vaccine and distribute it to low-risk people, leaving its trading partners and potential tourists in the lurch.
"The behavior of countries when it comes to vaccines in this pandemic will have political repercussions beyond public health," said Suerie Moon, co-director of the Global Health Center at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, to The Washington Post. "It's about, are you a reliable partner or, at the end of the day, are you going to keep all your toys for yourself?"
- U.S. Sits out as World Leaders Pledge $8 Billion to Find a COVID-19 ... ›
- When Will There Be a Coronavirus Vaccine? 5 Questions Answered ... ›
- Trump Administration Buys up Nearly All the World's Supply of ... ›
- Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Enters Phase 2 and 3 Clinical Trials ... ›
- CDC Tells States to Prepare for a Vaccine Before November Election - EcoWatch ›
- Sanders Rips Trump's Push to Rush COVID Vaccine - EcoWatch ›
- Thom Yorke of Radiohead Releases Song With Greenpeace to Help ... ›
- Patti Smith, Thom Yorke, Flea and More Featured on Just Released ... ›
- Musicians and Activists Unite at 'Pathway to Paris' - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A national park in Thailand has come up with an innovative way to make sure guests clean up their own trash: mail it back to them.
- Supermarkets in Thailand and Vietnam Swap Plastic Packaging for ... ›
- Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It ... ›
- Thailand Begins the New Year With Plastic Bag Ban - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Worsens Thailand's Plastic Waste Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Marium, Thailand's Beloved Baby Dugong, Is the Latest Victim of ... ›
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
- 7 Republicans Joined Senate Democrats in Vote to Fight Climate ... ›
- Climate Change Acknowledged by Increasing Number of ... ›
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
- Trump Denies CDC Director's 2021 Timeline for Coronavirus Vaccine ›
- CDC Tells States to Prepare for a Vaccine Before November Election ›
- Fauci Warns Pre-Pandemic Normalcy Not Likely Until Late 2021 ... ›
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.