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US Says It Won't Join Global Vaccine Effort

Critics slam 'go-it-alone approach'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2020 6:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will not work with an international cooperative effort to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine because it does not want to be constrained by multilateral groups like the World Health Organization. The decision to go it alone follows the White House’s decision in early July to pull the United States out of the WHO, the AP reports. Trump claims the WHO is in need of reform and is heavily influenced by China. Some nations have worked directly to secure supplies of vaccine, but others are pooling efforts to ensure success against a disease that has no geographical boundaries. More than 150 countries are setting up the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX.

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That cooperative effort, linked with the WHO, would allow nations to take advantage of a portfolio of potential vaccines to ensure their citizens are quickly covered by whichever ones are deemed effective. Democratic Rep. Ami Bera said the administration’s decision was shortsighted and will hamper the battle to end the pandemic. "Joining COVAX is a simple measure to guarantee US access to a vaccine—no matter who develops it first,” tweeted Bera, a medical doctor. "This go-it-alone approach leaves America at risk of not getting a vaccine." A handful of the dozens of experimental COVID-19 vaccines in human testing have reached the last and biggest hurdle—looking for the needed proof that they really work. Cambridge, England-based AstraZeneca announced Monday its vaccine candidate has entered the final testing stage in the US.

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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