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US says will not be ‘constrained’ by WHO-linked vaccine effort

The White House said Tuesday that the US will not join a global effort aimed at providing equitable worldwide access to Covid-19 vaccines, citing the project's link to a "corrupt" World Health Organization (WHO).

The White House said Tuesday that the US will not join a global effort aimed at providing equitable worldwide access to Covid-19 vaccines, citing the project’s link to a “corrupt” World Health Organization (WHO).

Over 170 nations are in talks to join the vaccine initiative, known as COVAX, which has already received a 400-million-euro (475-million-dollar) pledge from the European Commission.

The effort is organized by the vaccine alliance Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO.

In a statement on Tuesday White House spokesperson Judd Deere said the US will “not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.”

“This President will spare no expense to ensure that any new vaccine maintains our own FDA’s [Food and Drug Administration] gold standard for safety and efficacy, is thoroughly tested, and saves lives,” Deere added.

The US decision comes after the Trump administration pulled out of the WHO in July, claiming that Beijing is too influential in the organization and has been pursuing go-it-alone strategy in vaccine development.

COVAX, which is organized by the vaccine alliance Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO says it has the world’s largest and most diverse pool of vaccine candidates.

In a statement last week Richard Hatchett, CEPI’s chief executive officer Richard Hatchett called on countries to work together to find a vaccine, saying nations that act alone will create “few winners and many losers.”

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