Trump stays mum on sharing vaccines as leaders push for equality


Through: Bloomberg |

Nov. 22, 2020, 7:34 a.m.

The battle to counter the pandemic dominated on Saturday the first day of a virtual summit of the Group of 20 nations, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Leaders of the world’s richest countries have pushed for equality in the race to immunize people against coronavirus, while President Donald Trump has remained silent about sharing U.S.-made vaccines with other countries.

The battle to counter the pandemic dominated on the first day of a Group of 20 virtual summit Saturday, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The US president has told his counterparts that any American who wants the vaccine will be able to get it, and singled out US producers Pfizer Inc., whose jab was developed with a German company, and Moderna Inc., according to officials who asked not to be named during the talks, which were not open to the press.

Trump praised the American leadership, claiming credit for what he called an effective fight against the virus and success in strengthening the national economy. But he said nothing about granting access to US vaccines to the rest of the world.

Coronavirus deaths in the United States continue to skyrocket, having recently surpassed 250,000, with the country repeatedly hitting a record for daily cases. Total infections near 12 million, with states like Ohio and California posting new Covid-19 high cases.

Shortly after Trump’s remarks, he left the virtual session – while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke – and was replaced first by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, then by White House economic adviser. , Larry Kudlow, according to officials familiar with the meeting. Some other leaders also fell after giving their speeches, officials said.

Trump then left the White House for his golf course in Virginia. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In August, Russia announced its success in becoming the first nation to register a Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik SUVs and its European rivals, however, are now moving faster to produce their vaccines and gain regulatory approval. The European Union has reached an agreement with Pfizer, which is in partnership with the German BioNTech SE, and is negotiating an agreement with Moderna.

China, for its part, is already deploying massive production of vaccines to fight the disease, offering it as a tool of soft power.

Echoing Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said it is up to each individual to decide whether to get vaccinated, adding that the pandemic should not justify attacks on human freedom.

READ | Trump tweets about voter ‘fraud’ at G-20 opening meeting

This photo provided by the G20 summit in Riyadh shows Saudi King Salman, center, and the rest of the world leaders at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia and held by video conference amid the Covid pandemic -19, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, November 21, 2020 (G20 Summit in Riyadh via AP)

Trump was not alone in praising his own country’s efforts. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said his country is ready to share its vaccines with others who need them. It was then that Russia did not produce enough doses to begin mass inoculation of its own population.

“The main risk, of course, remains the likelihood, despite some positive signals, of long-term mass unemployment and the increase in poverty and the social dislocation that goes with it,” Putin said in his statement. speech. “And the role of the G-20 is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“This is a case where competition may be inevitable, but we have to start mainly from humanitarian considerations and make it a priority,” Putin added of vaccine availability, according to an official Kremlin translation of his remarks. .

China has also made a point of offering its vaccines. “China will honor its promise, provide aid and support to developing countries and strive to make vaccines an accessible and affordable global public good for all countries,” President Xi Jinping said at the meeting, according to the channel. public CCTV.

Xi also called on G-20 members to support the World Health Organization in coordinating resource allocation to ensure equitable and efficient distribution of vaccines around the world.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the meeting that the G-20 should work to ensure “affordable and equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine for all”. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said countries should share their vaccines and stressed the importance of multilateral cooperation against the virus, according to a G-20 official.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who holds the rotating presidency of the African Union, which has 55 countries, called on all countries to have “equitable and affordable access” to a vaccine once it is available and has urged the G-20 to help secure any funding gap. are addressed.

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