Amidst the race to get people vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 297,000 people in the United States, President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order demanding the prioritization of vaccines for Americans over the rest of the world. Although CNN’s Jake Tapper observed over the weekend that the actual mechanisms by which this order would be enforced aren’t entirely clear, philanthropist Bill Gates made his perspective clear during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union — the “America First” obsession is the exact wrong approach.
Gates characterized Trump’s apparent perspective as the “idea that everybody should die until we have the very last American vaccinated.” To suggest, however, that the U.S. has somehow been going it alone in the fight against the pandemic is simply false. The newly U.S.-approved COVID-19 vaccine is the work of Pfizer and BioNTech, the latter of which is a German company, Gates noted.
Gates commented as follows:
‘Well I think we need to help all of humanity here. We want the world economy to be going. We want to minimize the deaths. The basic technology is a German company, and so blocking international sharing and cooperation has been disruptive and a mistake during this entire pandemic… The U.S. has benefited from other countries’ work here, and we shouldn’t be entirely selfish in how we go forward… the extreme idea that everybody should die until we have the very last American vaccinated — that’s hardly the appropriate response.’
Watch his comments below:
Bill Gates on Trump signing an executive order prioritizing the distribution of vaccines to Americans first: "Well, the extreme idea that everybody should die until we have the very last American vaccinated, that's hardly the appropriate response." pic.twitter.com/CcLT9uheSu
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 13, 2020
No matter Trump’s nationalistic obsession, The New York Times recently reported that the Trump administration previously turned down an offer from Pfizer for between 100 and 500 million additional doses of their vaccine, which would have come in addition to the 100 million doses that the Trump administration did successfully secure. Those 100 million doses — of which individual Americans each need two, since it’s a two-dose vaccine — apparently only cover about one-sixth of the actual vaccine need in the United States, potentially dragging the vaccination process out for a reason other than the already in-place hurdles of actually getting the vaccine out into communities to individuals who need it. The Trump administration has claimed major credit for the COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution work that has been underway, but the federal funding that the administration has provided for the vaccine development process seems like a very basic step.
During his time on CNN over the weekend, Gates also praised the incoming Biden administration’s willingness to “rely on actual experts” in the fight against COVID-19. He commented as follows:
‘[The] new administration is willing to rely on actual experts and not attack those experts. They’re laying out clear plans. So I think we’ll get through this in a positive way. I’m pleased with the people and the priority that President-elect Biden and his team are bringing to bear on this problem.’
Check out Gates’s comments below:
Bill Gates says the presidential transition is "complicating" US efforts to distribute the vaccine adding, "the new administration is willing to rely on actual experts and not attack those experts. … So I think we'll get through this in a positive way" https://t.co/KA8cPzWf84 pic.twitter.com/tiMsDHDe49
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 13, 2020