New York: The United States will stay away from international efforts to develop and distribute Covid-19 vaccine due to its association with the World Health Organization (WHO), the White House has said.
The decision on Tuesday not to participate in the “COVAX” initiative marks further deterioration of the Donald Trump administration’s relations with the UN health agency.
“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 spokesman for the White House, was quoted as saying in a statement by Forbes.
The COVAX initiative was formed with the aim of working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved.
More than 170 economies are now engaged in discussions to potentially participate in the initiative which currently has one of the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccine portfolios — including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other major producers.
It is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the WHO.
The European Commission on Monday confirmed its interest to participate in the COVAX facility and announced a contribution of 400 million euros ($478 million) to the initiative.
In early April, Trump lashed out at the WHO for its response to the outbreak.
He accused the UN health agency of downplaying the severity of the pandemic in the beginning for its “China-centric” approach and froze US funding to the organisation.