The Trump administration is not interested in joining a global alliance of more than 170 countries that is working to ensure that an eventual coronavirus vaccine is distributed equally across the world.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) is looking for commitments from participating nations by mid-September. The point of the project is to pool buying power from many nations and ensure countries get a fair allotment of promising vaccines. It wants to dole out two billions of vaccine by the end of 2021.
Yet the U.S. was turned off by the leading role of the World Health Organization, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the news.
Mr. Trump is sour on the WHO because he feels it was too deferential to China — where the new coronavirus first infected humans — during the early days of the pandemic.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, vaccine and therapeutic research, development, and trials have advanced at unprecedented speed to deliver groundbreaking, effective medicines driven by data and safety and not held back by government red tape,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. “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.
“This president will spare no expense to ensure that any new vaccine maintains our own FDA’s gold standard for safety and efficacy, is thoroughly tested, and saves lives,” Mr. Deere said.
The Post report says the decision is viewed by experts as risky, because the U.S. must rely on the vaccine candidates it is developing to be reliable, rather than partaking in the global effort and the chance to secure doses from its pool of candidates.
A vaccine candidate from British drugmaker AstraZeneca entered phase-3 trials Monday, making it the third candidate to reach that stage with federal support from “Operation Warp Speed” — Mr. Trump’s campaign to land therapeutics and a vaccine at a record pace.
“To have just one vaccine enter the final stage of trials eight months after discovering a virus would be a remarkable achievement; to have three at that point with more on the way is extraordinary,” said Health Secretary Alex Azar.