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Biden is taking the first steps to address the global vaccine shortage

Washington:

As part of a deal announced at the so-called Quad Summit, a virtual meeting of the four leaders, the Biden administration has pledged to provide financial support to help at least 1 billion doses of coronavirus in India, a major vaccine maker, Biological E. vaccines by the end of 2022.

It will address the acute shortage of vaccines in Southeast Asia and beyond, without jeopardizing domestic political repercussions on the export of doses in the coming months, as Americans shout for their filming.

The United States has lagged far behind China, India, and Russia as marshall coronavirus vaccines as a tool of diplomacy. At the same time, Biden is facing accusations from the World Health Organization that he wants his administration to supply supplies to countries desperate to enter.

Insisting that the Americans be in the first place, the President has so far refused to make any specific commitment to provide US-made vaccines, even when tens of millions of doses of the vaccine made by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca are idle in US manufacturing facilities.

“If we have a surplus, we will share it with the rest of the world,” Biden said this week, adding, “We will begin to make sure Americans care first, but then we will try to help the rest of the world.”

In fact, a lot of work is expected of the president inside the country to fulfill the promises made in recent days. All states should have all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1 so that sufficient doses of the vaccine are available by the end of the year. to vaccinate every adult American, that by July 4, if Americans continue to follow public health guidelines, life should return to normal.

Vaccine deliveries are on track to achieve these goals, but the president has yet to build the infrastructure to administer doses to overcome the reluctance of large sections of the population to take them.

Still, Biden also made the restoration of US leadership a focus of his foreign policy agenda after his predecessor collapsed as a result of strained alliances,’s allies, and global partners. In a recent interview with the BBC, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the global vaccination campaign would be part of that effort. According to him, Washington is “determined” to be an “international leader” in vaccines.

Foreign policy experts, world health activists, see clear diplomatic, health, and humanitarian reasons for this.

“It’s time for US leaders to ask themselves. “When this epidemic is over, do we want the world to remember the American leadership that helped deliver the immunization vaccine, or will we leave it to others?” said Tom Hart, executive director of the nonprofit NGO Founded by U2 singer Bono, dedicated to eradicating global poverty.

The federal government has purchased an overdose of 453 million vaccines, the group said. It called on the Biden administration to distribute 5% of its doses abroad when 20% of Americans are vaccinated, and to gradually increase the percentage of total doses as more Americans receive their vaccines.

As of Friday, 13.5 percent of people 18 and older in the United States had been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Authoritarian governments in China և Russia, which are less likely to be overwhelmed by domestic public opinion, are already using vaccines to expand their spheres of influence. As the Biden administration plans its strategy to counter China’s growing global influence, Beijing is destroying its image by sending vaccines to dozens of continents, including Africa, Latin America, and especially its Southeast Asian backyard.

Russia has been supplying vaccines to Eastern European countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as Biden officials seek to keep the European Union united against Russian influence on the continent.

“We can compete with others who want to share more, even if they do it for cynical reasons,” said Ivo Dalder, a former NATO ambassador and chairman of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “I think countries are going to remember who they were to us when we needed them.”

With the worrying, highly contagious new variants emerging in the United States and around the world, public health experts say vaccinating people abroad is also necessary to protect Americans.

“It must be sold to Americans as a long-term strategy to make Americans safe. It must be sold to a highly divided, toxic America,” said Stephen. Stephen Morrison, World Health Expert, Centers for Strategic and International Studies. “I do not think it is impossible. “I think Americans are beginning to realize that in the world of options, everything that happens outside of us increases the urgency to move really fast.”

Blinken told the BBC the same. “Unless everyone in the world is vaccinated, then no one is really safe.”

According to the White House, the Quad Vaccine Partnership announced at Friday’s summit includes different commitments from each nation.

In addition to providing assistance to the Indian vaccine manufacturer, the United States has pledged at least $ 100 million to boost vaccine overseas capacity and support public health efforts. According to him, Japan is in “discussions” to provide loans to the Indian government to expand the production of vaccines for export, will help vaccination programs in developing countries. Australia will invest $ 77 million to provide vaccine-assisted delivery, focusing on South East Asia.

The four countries will also set up a Quad Vaccine Expert Group of senior scientists and government officials to work to remove production barriers and funding programs.

Morrison said the administration deserves “some credit” for its efforts, adding: “It shows diplomatic ingenuity and speed.” However, a spokesman for One Campaign, which focuses on extreme poverty, said his group would still like to see a US vaccine program, noting that Africa used far fewer doses per capita than Asia.

Biden’s efforts to boost vaccine production helped the United States produce about 1 billion doses by the end of the year, far more than is needed to vaccinate 260 million adults in the United States.

The deal that the administration brokered to allow pharmaceutical giant Merck to produce a single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which the president celebrated at the White House on Wednesday, will help advance that goal. Also Wednesday, Biden instructed federal health officials to provide an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The administration said the effort was aimed at providing children with adequate vaccines and increasing doses to deal with new, unplanned events. But id Efri Zi Jens, Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters on Friday that Johnson & Johnson’s “Merck deal” would “help expand capabilities” and ultimately benefit the world.

In addition to resisting the urge to give more quotas, Biden criticized the Liberal Democrats for blocking India ավային South Africa’s claim for a temporary waiver of an international intellectual property treaty that would allow poorer countries to have easier access to common versions of the coronavirus. Vaccines և treatments.

“I understand why we must prioritize our supply to the Americans. “American taxpayers have paid for it. President Biden is the president of the United States,” said Ran Hanna, a Liberal Democrat from California. “But there is no reason why we should prefer the profits of pharmaceutical companies to the dignity of people in other countries.”

Biden recently announced a $ 4 billion donation to COVAX, an international vaccine initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization. David Bryden, director of the Trade Line Health Workers Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting health care workers in low- and middle-income countries, says money is also needed to help train and pay those workers for vaccines abroad.

But that donation Qu Quad’s announcement of financial support for vaccine production on Friday is still free of urgent calls from U.S. public health advocates to immediately deliver ready-to-use, fast-injection doses.

Quad’s focus on Southeast Asia, however, is likely to reflect a sense of gratitude to China in the region, which Beijing has focused on vaccine distribution efforts.

If Biden is widely seen as a process of rebuilding the world from the coronavirus epidemic, it could be part of his legacy, as President George W. Bush said in the 2000s AIDS crisis in Africa. Bush responded with a huge investment in public health funding. More than a decade later, Bush և The United States continues to have respect for the President’s AIDS Emergency Plan, or PEPFAR, which, according to the government, has cost $ 85 billion to save 20 million lives across much of the continent.

Michael Gerson, a former White House spokesman and political adviser who helped develop the PEPFAR program under Bush, said it had a “moral and strategic impact” that the program had brought “enormous goodwill” to the United States in Africa.

“I think the principle here should be that people who need it the most get it, regardless of where they live,” he said. “It does not make much moral sense to give the vaccine to a healthy American 24-year-old to a front-line worker in Liberia.”

But he added, “It’s very difficult to explain to an American politician.”

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