Health

US Global Covid will “stop” working without more cash

With more than $ 4 billion in demand in Congress halted, USAID officials are now forced to plan for the possibility that their funding will be cut over the next few months, limiting their ability to vaccinate vulnerable people in dozens of countries – a prospect, Condick said. May put Americans at risk.

“If we see a cessation of support for the global Covid effort, it will make the US domestic situation vulnerable,” Kondick said. “The biggest failure we have seen on the domestic front has come with the emergence of new options [overseas]. ”

Lack of funding threatens Biden’s position Promise of June 2021 To help end the pandemic by delivering an “arsenal” of vaccines around the world. And that will limit USAID’s ability to fulfill its mission – to help save lives – at a time when millions of people are still vulnerable and at risk of becoming infected with Covid.

“First of all, for people at the highest risk of severe disease outcomes, especially those with immunocompromised populations – these are the populations that are most likely to be at the potential risk of developing new variants,” Kondick said. “The more we can accelerate coverage of these populations, the shorter the lifespan of their infections.”

Condick said 90 percent of the original U.S. bailout funding Congress, which was handed over to the agency for emergency Covid-19 programs, was either spent or in the process of being used. And, he said, efforts supported by this amount, including those that help countries capture people living in remote areas from the airport runway, are likely to be “shut down” in the second half of the year.

The prospect of running out of funds for USAID’s Global Vaccination Campaign raises concerns among some administration officials that the United States will not live up to its promise not only to help poor countries gain access to life-saving tools and treatment, but also to help countries deploy and administer them.

Failure to do so could further exacerbate the global health inequality that the Biden administration often promises. It could also pose a threat to U.S. health security by allowing the virus to spread unchecked, increasing the chance of new mutations that Western vaccines could prevent.

Biden is expected to hold his second Global Vaccine Summit in April and ask other countries to step up vaccines and cash donations to help with those efforts – an event that could take place before the White House and Congress reach an agreement on additional funding.

Funding problems come at a time when many Western and highly vaccinated countries, including the US, are beginning to ease public health restrictions such as indoor mask mandates. The quest to get out of the emergency phase of the pandemic has frustrated global health leaders, who say the world is not immune to Covid-19 until more people receive the first dose of the vaccine – a commitment they say should be given priority to deliver the fourth. Healthy people in rich countries.

“This virus continues to change and adapt. We are not out of the woods yet, ”said Seth Berkeley, chief executive of Gavi, the global vaccine alliance that is leading the COVAX effort. “You turn on the TV and the countries are completely back to normal, even though their cases are increasing and hospitalization is, in many cases, increasing and mortality is increasing. We may end up with a virus, but I do not think it’s over with us. ”

Berkeley said 92 countries that can receive a vaccine donation through COVAX have an overall vaccination rate of 40 percent. But low-income countries still have low vaccination rates – 14 percent of people have a single dose and 11 percent are fully vaccinated. Over the past few months, Gavi and COVAX have operated in 34 countries that had vaccinated less than 10 percent of the population as of January. Now 19 of these countries have rates below 10 percent.

“[They are] Those who have the biggest problem with health care systems. We have made real progress there. “But these countries will need very well-planned plans to work on that.” “What they need is an analysis that says what the barriers are, what they can help with, and sometimes it will be net health opportunities. This is It will be transport, it could be cold or supply chain, or maybe any hesitation. This is a range of different issues. “

These are some of the problems that USAID plans to address this year, largely through it Global Vaccine Access Program, Or Global VAX. The program was designed to help bridge the vaccination gap by expanding Covid-19 assistance and increasing access to vaccines around the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. USAID is investing $ 510 million in local health care systems to help run mobile clinics and store them in a proper freezer to help increase vaccination rates in 11 countries.

But, Kondick said the money is likely to run out by mid-year, raising questions about how USAID will be able to continue to help these 11 countries and dozens of other African countries, including Kenya, Malawi and Cameroon.

USAID has asked Congress for $ 19 billion to create a global wax. But that number has dwindled after talks between the White House and Congress and the agency. Earlier this month, the White House formally asked Congress for more than $ 4 billion for USAID – 75 percent less than the original request. At the time, White House officials said the amount of funding was temporary and that the administration would find more money for the agency.

However, that demand has stalled and lawmakers do not know when to expect a vote on a White House funding request that also includes about $ 15 billion for domestic Covid-19 efforts. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are urging the administration to report on the emergency funding for Covid-19, which it has accepted as a condition for voting on any new funding requests. White House officials said this week that they had provided information to lawmakers about how the administration spent the money.

Over the past few months, global health leaders have begun raising funds to prepare for the next pandemic. At the Capitol, the Senate passed a bill that would allocate billions of dollars to strengthen data systems and increase the production of diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines. The Norwegian-based epidemic preparedness innovation coalition launched a donor campaign earlier this month to help with its goal, helping to develop a vaccine for the next pandemic in 100 days.

USAID is considering how to continue to support the delivery of medical equipment, diagnostics And personal protective equipment this year given the likelihood of new options emerging. It appeals to donors to help with stockpiling efforts.

“The goal was to make it a manageable respiratory disease. It means a series of things at Covid and then a series of things beyond Covid, ”said Atul Gawand, USAID Global Health Development. “At Covid, it’s not just about getting vaccine supplies, it’s about getting vaccine guns, but then it goes beyond that. It is necessary to maintain high quality, mask production and rapid diagnostic test production. Until now, the average time between increases has been four to five months. ”

US Global Covid will “stop” working without more cash

Source link US Global Covid will “stop” working without more cash

Back to top button