Trump signs ‘America First’ Covid-19 vaccine distribution order

Washington DC, Dec 8 (efe-epa).- The United States’ outgoing president signed on Tuesday an executive order which applies his “America first” doctrine to the pandemic, declaring that Americans should have priority access to Covid-19 vaccines developed in his country.

Trump signed the executive order during the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit at the White House, held two days before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meets to assess whether to approve the vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

“In just a few minutes, I’ll sign an executive order to ensure that the United States government prioritizes the getting out of the vaccine to American citizens before sending it to other nations,” Donald Trump said.

According to the White House, the decree affects vaccines developed in the United States or with resources financed by the taxpayers of the North American country.

The pharmaceutical companies Moderna and AstraZeneca have developed their vaccines with the help of federal funds from the US, within the so-called “Operation Warp Speed,” unlike Pfizer, which has not received funding from the US government.

However, Pfizer is based in the US, and its vaccine seems to fall under the umbrella of the order, which calls for ensuring that “Americans have priority access” to vaccines developed in the country.

It is not clear how the decree will translate in practice, and the White House has not clarified whether it would try to prevent pharmaceutical companies from fulfilling the contracts they have with other countries, something that would have a shaky legal basis given the multinational nature of Pfizer and other companies.

On Monday, US media outlets reported that the Trump administration this summer declined Pfizer’s offer to sell it millions of backup doses – in addition to more than the 100 million doses ordered in the spring – of the vaccine it was developing, so the pharmaceutical company made commitments with other countries.

Added to that is the frustration that, according to CNN, Trump feels over the fact that the United Kingdom approved the Pfizer vaccine before the US and began to administer it on Tuesday.

“We’re just days away from authorization from the FDA, and we’re pushing them hard,” Trump said Tuesday.

The outgoing president took much of the credit for the “breakneck speed” of the vaccine development, underlining that his government made an “unprecedented investment” that led to “one of the greatest miracles in the history of modern-day medicine.”

No representatives of Pfizer or Moderna attended the summit at the White House, and no representative of president-elect Joe Biden’s team was invited, something that Trump justified with his refusal to acknowledge the election result. EFE-EPA


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