The USAID Covid-19 Working Group – about 200 people when it was founded in 2020, but now has fewer – met last week to discuss the impact of Congress not allocating money to the agency’s global Covid efforts. Working Group CEO Jeremy Condick told team members he would find out if they were looking for another job – and wrote letters of recommendation as needed, as one person said.
The agency’s uprising points to another challenge in the already difficult work of strengthening vaccination around the world – especially in developing countries, as well as in Africa, where less than 20 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Public health experts have repeatedly said that global vaccination efforts could save thousands of lives and prevent options that could still hamper life in countries with high vaccination rates.
For the past two years, senior Biden administration officials and global health leaders have cited USAID’s global vaccination work as vital to greater, international immunization goals. Its new Global VAX program, announced late last year, should boost the agency’s work by rapidly increasing immunization rates in 11 developing countries.
Now, vaccine-oriented programming seems to be coming to an end when a growing number of cases are observed against the backdrop of Omicron’s BA.2 sub-variant – and when even more sub-variants emerge globally.
Because more funding is unlikely, staff working on the global Covid response at USAID have begun to tell agency partners that they can no longer count on plans for the coming months. Goals set at the end of the year are either being considered or dismantled, said one expert on the subject.
Many of these strategies focus on delivering affordable doses, expanding available Covid-19 treatment, and expanding health systems more broadly – goals that global health leaders say are most important at this stage of the pandemic.
Last week, following reports that Congress would cut $ 5 billion from a Covid-19 additional funding package to respond to the global pandemic, USAID officials said they had begun a fight to find new jobs.
Ქвеш American Rescue PlanMany have been hired as Schedule A employees – in the sense that the positions will be terminated after the job is completed or funding is exhausted. But because global vaccination is now the main focus for ending the pandemic, Schedule A employees, contractors and others were shocked to learn that they would likely have to stop working in the coming months. While dozens are now considering leaving before funding runs out, global pandemic response teams could suffer a few more points.
Konyndyk was more optimistic about future funding in earlier calls with the working group, said the call participant, but the tone changed during the last call. While he and other agency leaders have spoken openly about the effect of completing the programs, there was little they could do to keep the job as it currently is without congressional action.
“We are now at a point where we will have to stop programming without additional funding,” Kondick told The New York Times. Column of Thought Which aired earlier this week with the headline “Unbelievable Nonsense About Ending Global Covid Aid.”
He was outspoken that new options could emerge from non-global action – which he described as “the biggest risk we face internally and globally”.
But despite the risk of new options, several USAID staff members in the working group said they had no choice but to look for new jobs.
“I think everyone is kind of frustrated,” said USAID Global Health. “It’s been our life for the last two years, so it’s just hard to break up with it.”
The staff of the US Global Vaccination Program is leaving due to lack of funding
Source link The staff of the US Global Vaccination Program is leaving due to lack of funding