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U.S. Must Provide COVID Vaccine Internationally

November 22, 2020

There is a daily routine in our home. I pull the blue plastic wrappers off the newspapers–wash my hands due to the pandemic–and then take my first glance at the headlines and stories that dominate the front pages. To be sure there are days when the headlines make me shake my head or mutter something. But this morning I picked up the front section of the Wisconsin State Journal, was truly taken aback, and read the top-of-the-fold story which continued on the second page, before even pouring my first cup of coffee. That just never happens.

Had anyone been looking at my face they would have surely seen a grimace that followed the read. When one wonders 1) why other nations have a dim view of the US and 2) why voters correctly chose a new president they can use this front page of the newspaper as Exhibit A.

This weekend leaders from the Group of 20 nations made an urgent request that no one could possibly begrudge. The call for global cooperation so that the coronavirus vaccine(s) can reach beyond the wealthiest nations makes complete sense in both a moral and ethical manner. Also, of course, such a mass distribution will be required if this virus is to be stemmed so economic gains again are to be realized around the world.

But as we have come to expect Donald Trump again made for an international stink. He pouted and made clear he was not ready to abandon his failed go-it-alone approach, which over the past months has included a break with the World Health Organization. As an internationalist and one who believes in science, it is clear as to why I had a facial expression this morning while reading the newspaper.

What Trump failed to do with the G-20 was once again a sign of not who is he, but what he is. He made no pledges on expanding the availability of U.S. vaccines. Think about that. In relation to the powerhouse moves that our nation has taken in the past to attempt to make sure peoples around the globe are immunized and treated with compassion, Trump being little and mean, would not step up and say absolutely the United States will share the COVID vaccine with the world. That was a soulless and immoral act that history will scorn.

It is imperative that the US participate on the world stage in a mature and professional manner again. The next administration will do that very thing starting on January 20, 2021.

Other nations are working together, as with the international vaccine collaboration Covax, a WHO-linked effort to expand vaccine distribution in the developing world. That is smart, vital, and a move that our nation should have not refused. Trump’s refusal to join Covax along with his disdainful way of treating the United Nation’s public health programming will end with a Joe Biden presidency.

When the tyrants and autocrats from Russia, Turkey, and China can stand up and talk about “humanitarian considerations” while the bunker-living narcissist in the White House cannot rally with any words that reflect the history of our nation, or our international capabilities, leaves this blogger grimacing.

But fear not, the good folks–Joe Biden and Kamala Harris–will soon arrive and take power in Washington.

And so it goes.

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