US bows out of 172-country vaccine effort due to WHO's role

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — In an effort to develop an effective vaccine against COVID-19, 172 countries have partnered up for a global effort.  However, the U.S. and China announced that they will not be a part of the partnership.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced Wednesday that America will not join the coalition, dubbed COVAX, due to objections that it was organized by the World Health Organization.  The Trump administration outwardly blames the WHO for the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Health officials and world leaders have advised against the move, saying the decision jeopardizes America’s position in the global vaccine alliance, saying by opting out of the effort, it means the country risks not being able to access a vaccine should another country develop it first.

Stefan Löfven, Sweden’s prime minister, is decried the United State’s decision to not join the alliance, saying “This cannot be a race with a few winners, and the COVAX Facility is an important part of the solution — making sure all countries can benefit from access to the world’s largest portfolio of candidates and fair and equitable distribution of vaccine doses.”

COVAX’s goal is to have two billion vaccine doses available on a global scale by the end of next year.  However, the goal is considered a lofty one considering the costs needed to ramp up production.  With the U.S. and China both rejecting the alliance, the WHO says greater coordination and more financial contributions will be needed.

Of the global effort, 80 countries signed up as “potentially self-financing” while 92 middle and low-income countries stated they may require support.

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