Nations Urgently Need Our Vaccines, Says Yellen—But We Won’t Supply Any
April 6 , 2021 (EIRNS)—With shocking hypocrisy U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in a speech April 5 to the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, called for urgently speeding up the distribution of vaccines in the “poorer nations” of the developing sector, while the Biden government’s policy of not exporting any of the large U.S. surplus vaccine production, remains in place.
Estimating even higher than World Bank President David Malpass, Yellen said that as many as 150 million people “risk falling into extreme poverty” in the crisis triggered by the COVID pandemic. “This would be a profound economic tragedy for those countries, one we should care about. What’s less obvious—but equally true—is that this divergence would also be a problem for America. Our first task must clearly be stopping the virus by ensuring that vaccines, testing and therapeutics are available as widely as possible.” She called on “richer countries” to step up economic and public health assistance to poorer nations overwhelmed by COVID consequences.
“Richer countries” than the United States?
But the Biden Administration a) opposes relaxation of intellectual property rules to allow more licensed production of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in other countries, and b) will not approve exports from the excess U.S. vaccine production, which is estimated at least at 45 million doses above those being distributed and is on track to go hundreds of millions of doses beyond the maximum anticipated use in America. That is without including some 50 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine approved outside the United States but not in it.
In South America, where the greatest pandemic worldwide threat is spreading rapidly out of Brazil to the entire continent, UN Development Program Regional Director Luis Felipe López Calva is quoted in the Washington Post today as saying, “There is a failure in the [vaccine] market.” It is so scarce that even information about the prices governments are paying for it, have become nearly impossible to find out,” as they are virtually classifying these prices in a bidding war.