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IN MOST RECENT SPENDING BILL, U.S. COMMITS ZERO TO HELPING THE GLOBE FIGHT COVID
What happens in one country can spread to other countries. We are all interconnected. Making sure the entire globe has the resources to deal with Covid-19 is not an act of charity. It is a matter of international security. With new variants developing and growing, unvaccinated countries can act as petri dishes for developing newer, stronger variants. There needs to be a rapid increase in the manufacture and dissemination of testing kits worldwide.
Congress has failed to put COVID money in the most recent $1.5 trillion spending bill, while including $780 billion for defense (Investopedia). What is real defense? Almost a million Americans have died of Covid 19, and over 6 million have died worldwide. As a result of the lack of funding, the administration said the federal government won’t have enough funding to secure booster doses for all Americans if more are needed, the availability of treatments such as monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals will be hamstrung, and efforts to monitor emerging variants and vaccinate the rest of the world will be curtailed.
The abandonment of the U.S. commitment to help the globe fight Covid is a complete betrayal of global health.
Governments worldwide have fallen woefully short on their goal to vaccinate 70% in each country by September (OCHA, 5-12-22).
And at the last Covid-19 Summit, Biden said he would commit to sharing 1.2 billion vaccination doses by September 2022. And yet as of May 2022, only 45% of that goal has been achieved (Devex, 5-12-22).
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently warned that only a "global vaccination plan" could end the COVID-19 pandemic and he called the uneven roll-out of vaccines around the world "immoral." He said, "We can end the pandemic," but emphasizes that much more needs to be done. He calls for doubling vaccine production and reaching 40 percent of the world's population by the end of 2021, and 70 percent by the first half of 2022. (UN News, 9-22-21)
Gordon Brown (the former Prime Minister of the UK) has said the failure of rich nations to share Covid-19 vaccines is a "moral catastrophe of historic proportions." Gordon Brown has also said it was a "monumental international policy failure." (Independent, 2-8-22)
The White House did originally come up with $4.25 billion. (Washington Post). But now there has been no money for Covid in the most recent spending bill. "...with no global money in the current deal, policymakers fear the disruption to the U.S.’ pandemic work overseas will continue indefinitely (Politico, 4-5-22)."
“Doing nothing to slow the global spread of COVID-19 is foolhardy,” Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) warned. “As the virus continues to mutate and wreak havoc overseas, more Americans will become sick and die (Politico, 4-5-22).”
The White House released a statement on the risks of not passing aid for global Covid efforts. They said the lack of aid will reduce the ability to identify and assess emerging variants. They also stated that there will be damage to global vaccination and Covid-19 treatment efforts.
June 8th, 2022, Update
The White House recently stated that it is cutting funds from some areas of its COVID-19 response in order to shift money to vaccines and treatments, given that new funding remains stalled in Congress. The White House has been warning for months that it needs more funding from Congress, but the $22.5 billion request remains stalled on Capitol Hill, with little sign of movement. (The Hill, 6-8-22) The White House released a statement on the risks of not passing aid for Covid efforts. They said the lack of aid will reduce the ability to identify and assess emerging variants. They also stated that there will be damage to global vaccination and Covid-19 Treatment efforts.
We call on the U.S. government in this time of crisis to spend $20 billion more on vaccinating the globe. So far this plan has been rejected.
The American Rescue Plan had some good ideas in terms of foreign aid. And we are aware that the U.S. government has already donated to COVAX.
But much more needs to be done.
There are significant gaps in coverage. Only 2% of the population in low-income countries have received at least one vaccine dose, compared to nearly two-thirds of the people in high-income countries. It also ends up that COVAX will only be able to distribute half the vaccines it planned. And World Health Organization officials now say that Africa won't be fully vaccinated until 2024.
We don't pretend to be vaccine experts. We don't know all the details of how this will be executed. But we know what is happening right now is inadequate. The global threat of Covid-19 will not be solved until the vaccine is available for all.
Over one million U.S. citizens have died from Covid 19. Over 5 million people worldwide have been killed. Vaccinating the globe is one of the most pressing matters of international security of our time.
Experts also say that the omicron wave has illustrated gaps in the U.S. global coronavirus strategy, warning that low-income nations are particularly vulnerable to the virus and that the risk of another variant will remain elevated as long as billions of people are unvaccinated. (Washington Post, 1-25-22)
White House's National Covid-19 Preparedness Plan
'Shocking': Report Warns US Likely to Miss Modest Vaccine Donation Goal (Common Dreams, 3-9-22)
An Incomplete Arsenal (Public Citizen, 3-8-22)
Omicron wave is wake-up call about need to vaccinate the world, say Hill Democrats, experts (Washington Post, 1-25-22)
WORLD LEADERS AROUND THE GLOBE ARE CALLING FOR MORE TO BE DONE
World leaders around the globe are stating that what is happening right now is inadequate.
There has also been a statement from the ASPEN Economic Strategy Group (a group of economic experts including Former Chair of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, two former White House chiefs of staff, Joshua Bolten and Erskine Bowles, Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and several more) calling for U.S. leadership to step up its global vaccination efforts. They call for $50 billion in aid.
Congresswoman Jayapal and 70 other lawmakers have called for $34 billion to improve the global vaccination distribution.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also spoken out on the fact that much more needs to be done. They have stated that we must make it a priority to vaccinate nations with high populations of unvaccinated people before proceeding to vaccination of children and adolescents who are at low risk for severe disease. (WHO). WHO also provides a roadmap of who should be prioritized for vaccination.
The non-profit, Public Citizen, asks for the U.S. to donate $25 billion more to the global vaccine effort. They say with this amount, the U.S. could produce billions of vaccine doses for $3 per dose. They argue this would be enough to vaccinate low and middle income countries for a year. They state that scaling-up production in the United States and in regional manufacturing centers around the world could shave years from the global pandemic.
WE CALL ON PRESIDENT BIDEN TO SPEND AT LEAST
$20 BILLION MORE ON VACCINATING THE GLOBE
It's time to treat a crisis like a crisis.
We believe the U.S. can spend at least $20 billion more to vaccinate the globe against Covid-19. Experts have called for $30 billion.
If we can spend more than the next 7 nations combined on our military, we can certainly afford to spend a tiny fraction of that amount on the greatest international security threat of our time.
We would like to see President Biden call for $20 billion more in aid on this effort.
OTHER PLANS WORTH LOOKING INTO
The NOVID Act
On June 8th, 2021, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Senator Jeff Merkley, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the bicameral Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate (NOVID) Act. Their goal with this act is to expand the nation’s international COVID prevention and vaccination efforts to reduce the risk of new variant outbreaks. Through this act, lives will be saved by helping to inoculate at least 60 percent of the populations of the 92 low and middle-income countries eligible to receive COVID vaccines through the COVAX program. This bill authorizes spending for $25 billion to cover the cost of producing 8 billion vaccine doses, $8.5 billion to cover the cost of delivering those vaccines and $500 million to create a global disease surveillance network to fight against future pandemics.
House NOVID Act Senate NOVID Act
NOVID Act PDF
Krishnamoorthi, Merkley, Warren, and Jayapal Introduce NOVID Act (Krishnamoorthi Official Site, 6-8-21)
Marshall Plan for Covid
On August 13, 2021, Congressman Jake Auchincloss and 21 other members of Congress expressed support to develop a “Marshall plan”, where the U.S. would help distribute vaccines, medical equipment and other crucially needed medical supplies globally. With the current rate of global vaccinations, many nations will not reach herd immunity until 2023. With the rise of the Omicron variant, it is imperative that the U.S. develop a Marshall Plan for global vaccinations, as the virus will continue to spread for years if the rest of the world remains unvaccinated.
Jake Auchincloss calls for U.S. to develop “Marshall Plan” for global vaccinations (Jake Auchincloss Official Site)
Opinion Piece from Jake Auchincloss Regarding Marshall Plan (CNN, 3-29-21)
CORBEVAX seems to be a safe, effective, low-cost, patent free, no strings attached vaccine developed by the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development (Texas Children’s CVD) and Baylor College of Medicine. The central government of India has already ordered 300 million doses. And BioE, the company manufacturing the vaccine, plans to produce 100 million or more doses per month starting in February, 2022.
Miraculously all this has been done without government funding.
Imagine how many more of these vaccines could be produced with the government's aid?
So this might be something worth looking into.
See our article on Corbevax for more information.