US rejects global cooperation in vaccine project

A handout photo shows samples of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in Moscow
A handout photo shows samples of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in MoscowReuters
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The US will not join global efforts with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines, President Donald Trump’s administration said.

More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, a global initiative working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries with access to safe and effective vaccines, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

However, White House spokesman Judd Deere said that the US will not participate because of the involvement of WHO, and “will not be constrained by multilateral organizations”.

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“A shortsighted decision by the Admin that will further hamper our ability to end this pandemic,” Ami Bera, an Indian-American doctor and member of Congress, tweeted on Wednesday, adding that this go-it-alone approach leaves the country at risk of getting no vaccine.

Medical experts worry that even if the US is able to first develop and distribute a mostly-effective vaccine to its own residents, many Americans could still be left vulnerable to imported infections if other countries do not have access.

The US decided to suspend funding to WHO in April, damaging the world body’s capacity and the international cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

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