The Trump administration has determined that the U.S. will go its own way with developing a vaccine for coronavirus. The U.S. will not participate in a collaborative global initiative of more than 170 countries to develop and distribute two billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine around the world. The initiative is called the COVAX Facility. President Trump does not want to participate because the World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the leaders of the effort.
“The United States will not participate, in part because the White House does not want to work with the WHO, which President Trump has criticized over what he characterized as its ‘China-centric’ response to the pandemic,” the Washington Post reports.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said, “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.”
U.S. withdrawal from WHO
The U.S. withdrew from the WHO in July, but the process takes a year and will not be official until July 6, 2021. The Trump administration has already begun withdrawing officials and funds from the WHO. Joe Biden has pledged that if elected he will reinstate the U.S.’s involvement with the WHO.
Not joining the global effort is a risky move, as it means that Americans could go without access to proven COVID-19 treatment. Experts are also calling it short-sighted, seeing as having vaccines available worldwide would keep everyone safe, allow for travel to resume, and allow for global commerce to continue.
WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom warns against “vaccine nationalism” in which countries go their own way in developing a vaccine. The hoarding by some countries of PPE in the early stages of the pandemic led to dangerous shortages.
Adhanom added, “A vaccine developed in one country may need to be filled in vials with stoppers that are produced in another, using materials for the high-grade glass that is only available from yet another country.”
Stefan Löfven, the prime minister of Sweden, said, “Equal access to a COVID-19 vaccine is the key to beating the virus and paving the way for recovery from the pandemic. 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.”
Medicare coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine
When a vaccine does become available, Medicare will cover the vaccine. There are even federal efforts underway to provide a free vaccine for everyone. Learn more about what Medicare covers for vaccines and coronavirus.