The US is not joining a global SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effort in part because the program involves the World Health Organization, the Washington Post reports.
The effort, called the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, aims to not only develop and manufacture a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, but also equitably distribute it. COVAX is co-led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi and, according to the Post, has the support of Japan, Germany, and the European Commission.
However, it says the Trump Administration has declined to participate, as it does not want to work with the WHO. President Donald Trump panned the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led him to threaten to cut off US funding of the international health agency, and start the process of withdrawing the US from the WHO.
"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," Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson says in a statement, according to the Guardian.
Georgetown University's Lawrence Gostin tells the Post that the US "is taking a huge gamble by taking a go-it-alone strategy." The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies' Suerie Moon further warns it that the decision could have long-term effects.
"The behavior of countries when it comes to vaccines in this pandemic will have political repercussions beyond public health," she adds at the Post. "It's about: Are you a reliable partner, or, at the end of the day, are you going to keep all your toys for yourself?"