Let’s Send Vaccines Overseas Now

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazine) U.S. diplomats are frustrated with the State Department leaders in Washington because America is not moving fast to help other countries in need of the vaccine. They are fearful that China and Russia will take up the slack.

Senior Officials at the White House have said that China and Russia “have used donations of their homegrown vaccines “to send aid to more than four dozen countries abroad. Those countries have pleaded with America and we have been slow to act.

Both Russia and China are using their vaccines “to strengthen its relationships with countries.”

Many American diplomats said that we have not begun sharing some of the 1 billion doses of vaccines throughout the world. “The president came into office pledging to make the country a global leader in the pandemic response.” However, the White House has also maintained that we have to safeguard Americans “before aiding the rest of the world.”

One senior administration official said that we have many doses of AstraZeneca that could be used by other countries. We simply need to move faster to supply “overseas countries struggling to contain cases.”

U.S. diplomats in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa “have received desperate requests from officials for Covid-19 assistance, including vaccines, drugs, and personal protective equipment.”

Some of these countries need vaccines – in South Asia, there is the Philippines – and China has responded. Meanwhile, President Biden and his officials have debated lately as to whether our infection rate was low enough to send our vaccines abroad.

President Biden and his top administration officials commented in late April that we would send 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines by July 4. Soon, Biden will announce the countries to which these doses will be sent. 

The plant in Baltimore operated by Emergent BioSolutions is manufacturing AstraZeneca vaccines. However, they are being scrutinized since March when they somehow contaminated “a batch of 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. FDA is now testing AstraZeneca doses made at the site to ensure they are safe to use.” These doses will be shipped out once they are approved. 

Biden also has to try to figure out how to allocate doses of vaccines and not make it seem like a political gain. Gayle Smith, coordinator for Global Covid-19 at the State Department said, “The U.S. would not allocate Covid-19 resources as a tool for trying to gain influence.”

SOURCE

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