Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Biden accelerates vaccine diplomacy efforts, as he hopes to share surplus doses

Diplomats see the development as a sign that Biden is moving to distribute some of the millions of people in the United States, after every American has been vaccinated by the United States. But the president is wary of sending vaccines overseas to people in the United States before they arrive, and the administration’s health experts continue to warn that additional doses may be needed as the virus mutes and the epidemic persists.

Efforts by Beijing and Moscow to use their vaccines to promote good relations in their countries to start vaccinating their people are growing rapidly, and near a point when someone wants a vaccine they can get it Hai, Biden and his team have started developing more robust plans. To accelerate aid efforts abroad.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new position for Gayle Smith, former director of the US Agency for International Development, to coordinate the international response to the coronovirus epidemic. Smith was most recently the CEO of the One Campaign, which has been vocally pressuring Biden’s administration to ship some American vaccine products overseas. An administration official said that his appointment was an indication that the administration is now in a position to think how vaccines should be distributed.

US diplomats said they expected more internal discussions in the coming weeks where the US should send additional vaccines. The final decision – which administration officials said may still be months away – will take into account factors such as US interests in different regions and the Kovid-19 levels in different countries. South and Central American nations are seen as particularly important because of the present US migration increaseAccording to officials and diplomats, but no decision has yet been made as to where the additional vaccines will go.

For now, the White House says that it should maintain adequate vaccines in case of unforeseen developments in the epidemic.

White House press secretary Jane Saki on Monday cited a recent mix, saying, “We are not at the point where we are sharing the dose with every country around the world. Part of the reason is that we Things need to be planned. ” As a result of the 15 million wasted doses at the plant that produced the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We have to plan for a series of contingencies. That’s exactly what we did,” she said. “This is one of the many reasons we’re still going to be in a place where we held enough vaccines for adult Americans by the end of May.”

Last week, Psaki said that talks about sharing the American vaccine dose would eventually take place.

“As we are growing confident that we have enough vaccines, we will explore options for sharing more widely”, he said.

‘The international market for vaccines is very hot’

Compete with China, Who have already given vaccines to dozens of countries, Would be a significant challenge, officials acknowledged. But given the global demand and desire for US and European vaccines, Biden administration officials do not feel that it is too late for the US to step up to the plate.

Speaking on Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said rich countries should help speed up the vaccine roll-out in poorer countries, warning that failure to stop the virus abroad will deepen inequality and harm the US Will deliver.

“Until we act, the world is susceptible to the emergence of a profound global divergence between rich and poor countries,” she said.

The US has announced separate financial commitments to entities working to produce and distribute vaccines in developing countries – including Kovacs for $ 4 billion, an international consortium – and resolve to help increase vaccine production in India Is so that the product can be distributed elsewhere. in Asia.

The US has also provided limited shipments of AstraZeneca’s product – not yet authorized for use in the United States – to Mexico and Canada, whose leaders raised the topic with Biden during a virtual summit in the last two months .

Nevertheless, Biden has yet to stop sending ready-to-use supplements to the three vaccines being distributed in the US – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – to those countries in need. He has called for loosening intellectual property regulations to allow other countries to start producing vaccines.

He is facing pressure from many global voices to step up his efforts to get more and more around the world.

Guatemala’s ambassador to the United States, Alfonso Quinoz, said in an interview that there was not much funding for the purchase of vaccines. Instead, he said that accessing vaccine supplies is a challenge due to global demand.

“If our population is not vaccinated – and many Guatemalans are coming to the United States every day who have not yet been vaccinated – the risk here continues in the United States.”

“We are not asking for donations,” he said. “We have the resources to buy them, but right now, the international market for vaccines is very hot.”

Political and practical concerns about overseas shipping excess dosage

The US government has procured far more than the vaccine dose needed to provide shots to the entire population of the country, which currently extends orders between the trio of authorized and AstraZeneca. According to people familiar with the matter, Biden’s team has been wary of releasing pre-purchased supplements for several reasons.

Poll by Pew Research Center held in February Shown is that a vast majority of American adults – 66% – believe that the US should ensure that enough vaccines are available in the United States, even if this means that developing countries have to wait longer needed. It was a majority view among both Democrats and Republicans.

But officials have cited the steady-indeterminate nature of the virus, which is spreading in the United States and as a primary reason for keeping overstock dose instead of shipping overseas.

Officials said the prospect of more variants, and the need for booster shots in the future, is driving some reluctance to over-deliver the US vaccine supply overseas, even as the administration expects a surplus of doses.

Biden’s health advisors are also waiting to see which vaccine works best on teenagers and children, and who don’t want to send the dose abroad before they know which pill to take after the test is complete. Will be recommended and who are eligible for the age group. It may still be months away, and officials said they do not want to be in a position where they have shipped the vaccine overseas that is suddenly necessary for American children.

The political downside of sending vaccines abroad is also woven into the administration’s decision making. Biden’s team recognizes the imperative of providing vaccines before sending them abroad, and the president himself has made it clear to his team that they are currently focused on American vaccination efforts.

“If we have a surplus, we’re going to share it with the rest of the world,” Biden said last month. “We’re going to start to make sure Americans get noticed first, but we’re then trying to help the rest of the world.”

Officials believe the political downside to vaccine sharing will decrease as availability ramps up in the US. Officials see the beginning of May as the moment when most Americans will have access to shots, making it more palatable to distribute vaccines overseas.

Administration officials said it is unclear what percentage of Americans will need to be vaccinated before the Biden team decides to share the vaccine with other countries, but it is expected to be discussed in the coming days and weeks, according to the administration. The officials said.

The new coordinator Smith will engage in interdisciplinary discussions to determine what he is going to share with other countries and when the administration is ready to start doing so, administration officials said. The Forest Campaign, an organization Smith had previously run, has called for 5% of the US supply to be shared abroad when 20% of the US population gets vaccinated.

Announcing the new appointment, Blinken at the State Department on Monday said, “As we believe more in our vaccine supply at home, we are exploring options to share with other countries.” “We believe that we will be in a position to do a lot on this front. I know that many countries are asking the United States to do more, some with increasing desperation, because of the scope of their Kovid emergencies and Scale. ” Heard of you, and I promise that we are growing as fast as possible. “

National security officials in the administration have recognized the value in providing vaccines abroad – diplomatic, strategic and healthy. As the president’s views on getting the first vaccine administered to Americans are firm and well established, some internal disputes over the matter have broken out, the two said.

The US is already providing some direct Kovid-19 support. For example, in Colombia, the US donated isothermal transport kits, allowing 1.2 million vaccine doses to be taken to remote areas of the country.

America’s top diplomat said on Monday that the United States “would not trade arms for political favors” But did not give specific details on the administration’s plans to share the vaccines more widely with its neighbors.

Blinken also outlined other “core values” he said would guide the State Department’s plans to appear in swipes in Russia and China: “We will not back and forth. For the vaccines we help, Will maintain a high standard. ” Exposing others, distributing only to those who prove to be safe and effective. We will emphasize the approach built on equity. “

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