Saturday, June 25

Progressives urge Biden to do more on vaccine distribution around the world

(CNN) — A group of more than 30 Democratic House members signed a letter to the White House urging the Biden administration to do even more to help distribute vaccines around the world.

The letter comes just after President Joe Biden announced a plan to immediately share 25 million covid-19 vaccines with countries around the world, with a broader goal of sharing up to 80 million doses of vaccines by the end of the month. June.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state and president of the Progressive Caucus, is the lead author of the letter and is joined by several of her fellow progressives such as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ritchie Torres of New York; Cori Bush, from Missouri; Danny Davis and Raja Krishnamoorthi, from Illinois; Mark Pocan, from Wisconsin; and Ro Khanna from California.

According to Jayapal, she and members of the caucus have been pushing the White House to be aggressive in distributing vaccines around the world as the situation worsens in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. Jayapal said she is in regular contact with White House Secretary General Ron Klain and was very happy to see the initial announcement, but said much more needs to be done.

“This is urgent, I mean, people need them right now. And that’s a good first step, “said Jayapal, whose parents live in India – and both had COVID – in an interview with CNN. “Our letter, however, calls for that – and I’ve talked to the White House about all these things – but calls for much more.”

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In addition to the initial vaccine distribution, lawmakers are pressuring the White House to do the following:

  • Invest up to US $ 25,000 million to boost the production of 8,000 million doses of vaccines
  • Use the diplomatic influence of the United States to help facilitate technology transfer to help other countries produce vaccines on their own
  • Support a new free reserve asset from the International Monetary Fund to help low-income countries strengthen their public health budgets
  • Convene a global vaccine summit with world leaders to help coordinate vaccine development and distribution

«United States, thanks to the leadership [de Biden] and the actions of Congress, it has really been able to turn the tide and make vaccines reach people across the country, ”said Jayapal. But this is not going to go away. This is not just a moral responsibility, but if we find a way to squash the virus, then we can help the rest of the world do it. “

For Jayapal, the desire to push for more vaccines around the world is a personal one. He was born in India and both of his elderly parents still live there. His parents contracted covid just as the wave of the virus was beginning to rage in the country (according to Johns Hopkins, cases in India began to increase dramatically in early March). They have both since recovered, but Jayapal believes they were lucky. His father was able to get a hospital bed and receive vital oxygen because the country had not yet been invaded by the virus. If he had contracted the disease a few weeks later, he thinks it is possible that he would not have survived.

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“Honestly, they are some of the lucky ones because they had it at the beginning of the peak,” he said. “And I really don’t think that if it had happened even a week later, my dad would have been able to get the oxygen he needed, or the hospital room he needed.”

Because he witnessed the impact of the virus first-hand, Jayapal is pressuring the administration, believing that taking these steps now is a necessity. She believes the White House should move forward with some of these measures before Biden leaves for the G7 summit next week so the United States can demonstrate leadership in what she calls an “urgent” need.

“It has been very traumatic for all the Indo-Americans across the country who have relatives there. I feel that there is not a single one of us who does not know someone who has died or someone who is very close to us who has died, “he said. “I’ve just been lobbying privately, publicly, in every way possible, to get America to show leadership on this.”

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