Trump administration refuses to work with WHO on international vaccine development project

Nathan Czapnik, is a member of the YCL’s London District 

The Trump administration has announced that they will not participate alongside more than 170 other countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) over the development of a COVID-19 vaccine at the COVID-19 Global Access Facility (Covax).

With the current global number of infection cases having surpassed 25 million and the death toll of the pandemic exceeding 846,000, there is an urgent need for countries to cooperate with one another for the development of a successful vaccine.

Despite initially praising the WHO and China for their response to the pandemic, going as far as saying “I want to thank President Xi!” on January 24th, Trump has switched opinions and engaged in a hostile attack on both the WHO and China, accusing them of conspiring with one another over their motivations to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and the evidence concerning the initial outbreak of the virus in Wuhan.

Trump’s hostility towards international involvement comes at a great danger to not only other nations in need of assistance, but especially his own country which has had over one million infections in the time frame of less than a month and a death toll of 183,000 (almost a quarter of the total global deaths).

Trump’s decision to not cooperate on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine has been expected by the WHO, as back in July, the White House sent a letter to the United Nations (UN) stating that the USA would formally begin a withdrawal process from the WHO, the UN’s specialised health agency.

The Secretary-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has spoken out against what he terms as “vaccine nationalism,” that being the hostile attitudes and outright attempts of derailment by some countries towards the international fight for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Trump’s demagogic nationalism has become extremely damaging towards international relations during the time of a pandemic, not only with regards to China and the WHO in general, but also with his attempts to prevent Cuban internationalist medical aid from helping countries around the world by pressuring those countries in need to reject the aid despite not being offered any tangible alternatives from Trump himself.

Nathan Czapnik

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