Biden to join Covax, which will supply SA with vaccines, after Trump refused to be a part of it
- US president Joe Biden intends to rejoin the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its vaccine distribution scheme, COVAX.
- Anthony Blinken, Biden's nominee for secretary of state, made the announcement Tuesday.
- Former president Donald Trump cut ties with the WHO in May 2020 and refused to join COVAX, a scheme that ensures equal distribution of shots.
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US President Joe Biden will rejoin the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its COVAX scheme, a global initiative that ensures equal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
South Africa expects to get vaccines for 10% of its population via Covax, for a payment of R2.2 billion.
Anthony Blinken, Biden's nominee for secretary of state, made the announcement Tuesday.
"We believe strongly that we can ensure that every American gets the vaccine, but also help make sure that others around the world who want it have access to it," Blinken told lawmakers Tuesday at his confirmation hearing.
Covax is a voluntary scheme that was launched by the WHO, Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in April 200. It plans to distribute 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide by the end of 2021.
The WHO said Monday, however, that certain countries and companies who had promised equitable access by signing up to COVAX have gone around the scheme, putting themselves first and in doing so driving up prices.
The world is "on the brink of catastrophic moral failure" by failing to give vaccines to poorer countries, the head of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Monday.
Former president Donald Trump cut ties with the WHO in May 2020, calling the group "China-centric." Trump cited the same reasons for refusing to join COVAX.
Biden said in his $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan" Thursday that he intended to work with the rest of the world, noting that the US wouldn't be protected from COVID-19 without a collaborative response. But he did not mention re-joining the WHO or joining COVAX specifically.
He has said on a separate occasion, however, that he would rejoin the WHO it on his first day in office." Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health," Biden tweeted in July.