The Biden administration is being criticized for falling short on its pledge to provide vaccines to the world.
President Biden, who has pledged to fight the coronavirus pandemic by making the United States the “vaccine arsenal” for the world, is facing increasing criticism from public health experts, global health advocates and even Democrats in Congress who say that he is nowhere near living up to his promise.
Mr Biden has either donated or pledged about 600 million vaccine doses to other countries – a small fraction of the 11 billion that experts say are needed to slow the spread of the virus around the world. His government has also taken steps to expand Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing in the United States and India, and is backing manufacturing in South Africa and Senegal to expand access to locally manufactured vaccines in Africa.
But with the government now recommending booster doses for vaccinated Americans starting next month, outraged public health experts and many Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on the president to be more aggressive to increase global production. In an analysis released Thursday, AIDS advocacy group PrEP4All found that the government had spent less than 1 percent of the money Congress spent building up Covid-19 countermeasures to expand vaccine manufacturing.
Congress this year invested a total of $ 16.05 billion in the U.S. rescue plan in two separate tranches that could be used to source and manufacture treatments, vaccines, and tools to end the pandemic. However, PrEP4All found that the government had spent a total of $ 145 million – only $ 12 million of that from the US rescue plan – to expand vaccine manufacturing.
The United States donated 115 million excess cans and bought 500 million more from Pfizer and BioNTech to be distributed through Covax, more than any other country. But that’s still a tiny fraction of the 12 billion doses that Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center predicts the world will need by the end of 2021.
James Krellenstein, a founder of PrEP4All and the author of his report, said, “If they don’t change course soon, the Biden administration will be remembered today as the Reagan administration, which is inconsistent with the AIDS crisis. “