News ID: 90215
Publish Date : 15 May 2021 - 21:12
WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The United States has bet on an "American First” route to quickly vaccinate its population against COVID-19 and only then help the rest of the world, yet such vaccine nationalism isn’t working for the country’s return to normalcy, according to new U.S. media reports.
The United States, like other wealthy nations, has been striking deals with pharmaceutical companies and increasing its stockpile early on, said an article published in The Atlantic.
However, America’s vaccination rate is slowing. Despite plentiful supplies, less than half of the country’s population is protected by at least one dose of a vaccine, and just about a third is fully vaccinated, according to the news magazine.
The era of mass vaccinations in the country is almost over, and persuading the most vaccine-skeptical Americans has become the goal. Meanwhile, the United States lacks an outline for convincing them to invest in fighting the pandemic abroad even as it eases at home, the article wrote.
The world needs a comprehensive plan to invest billions in global health infrastructure, technology transfers and exports of raw materials. If the moral imperative of combating the virus is not enough to spur the United States into action, it also risks slowing the global economic recovery, importing new variants from countries still grappling with outbreaks, and needing to impose renewed shutdowns and travel bans, it wrote.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization urged rich countries to reconsider plans to vaccinate children and instead donate COVID-19 shots to the COVAX scheme that shares them with poorer nations.
The WHO is hoping more countries will follow France and Sweden in donating shots to COVAX after inoculating their priority populations to help address a gulf in vaccination rates.
Canada and the United States are among countries that have authorized vaccines for use in adolescents in recent weeks. However, a WHO official said talks with Washington on sharing doses were under way.
"I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to #COVAX,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual meeting in Geneva on Friday.
"In low and lower-middle-income countries, COVID-19 vaccine supply has not been enough to even immunize healthcare workers, and hospitals are being inundated with people that need lifesaving care urgently,” he added.
COVAX, which has delivered about 60 million doses so far, has struggled to meet supply targets partly because of Indian export restrictions on the AstraZeneca vaccine due to its growing epidemic.
So far, about 1.26 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered globally.
WHO also issued a grim warning that the second year of COVID-19 was set to be "far more deadly”, as Japan extended a state of emergency amid growing calls for the Olympics to be scrapped.
"We’re on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first,” Ghebreyesus said.
* Comment: