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President Joe Biden reportedly plans to dole out $4 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds to a World Health Organization program aimed at coronavirus vaccine “equity.”
The Democrat-led Congress reportedly already appropriated $2 billion for the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access program, or COVAX, in December. On Friday, the president is expected to announce another $2 billion in donations, raising the total to $4 billion.
“The funding for the program … includes an initial contribution of $2 billion that Congress appropriated in December. That funding should go out by the end of the month,” NPR reported, citing a senior administration official.
“In addition, Biden will pledge another $2 billion through 2021 and 2022. The first $500 million of that pledge will be available ‘rather quickly’ to help spur other donations, the official said.”
According to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI, last April the World Health Organization, the European Commission and the French government launched COVAX to provide “equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.”
“For lower-income funded nations, who would otherwise be unable to afford these vaccines, as well as a number of higher-income self-financing countries that have no bilateral deals with manufacturers, COVAX is quite literally a lifeline and the only viable way in which their citizens will get access to COVID-19 vaccines,” GAVI notes.
Then-President Donald Trump refused to join this effort at the time in part because of the discredited WHO’s involvement.
“The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” then-White House spokesperson Judd Deere said last September.
Over 170 countries are in talks to participate in the initiative. ‘The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus,’ a White House spokesperson said…
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 2, 2020
… ‘But we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.’
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 2, 2020
The WHO has faced scrutiny for purposefully covering up China’s complicity vis-a-vis the coronavirus pandemic.
“As it praised Beijing, the World Health Organization concealed concessions to China and may have sacrificed the best chance to unravel the virus’s origins,” The New York Times, a left-wing paper not prone to defending the Trump administration’s narratives, openly admitted last November.
“[T]he health organization pushed misleading and contradictory information about the risk of spread from symptomless carriers. Its experts were slow to accept that the virus could be airborne. Top health officials encouraged travel as usual, advice that was based on politics and economics, not science.”
Even some Biden administration officials have shared concerns over the WHO’s known corruption:
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 14, 2021
However, these concerns didn’t stop the president from reestablishing a relationship with the sketchy organization.
“I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, announced on Biden’s behalf at a WHO board meeting last month.
“Yesterday, President Biden signed letters retracting the previous Administration’s announcement to withdraw from the organization, and those letters have been transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to you Dr. Tedros, my dear friend.”
The move wasn’t well met by congressional Republicans.
“Having the United States rejoin the World Health Organization without it undergoing serious reforms is foolish. From the very start of the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO and Secretary-General Tedros have proven that their priority has been to abet the Chinese government at the expense of the American people and the rest of the world,” House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer correctly noted at the time.
“While China spread misinformation so it could hoard medical supplies, the WHO parroted China’s lies denying human to human transmission of the virus and Tedros praised them for their transparency. Until the WHO undergoes much needed reforms, American taxpayers should not subsidize an organization that has acted as Communist China’s propaganda outlet at every turn.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise agreed, saying in his own statement, “America has paid too-high a price for China’s lies and the World Health Organization’s complicity.”
A price that’s now apparently gone up by an additional $2 billion thanks to President Biden.
The president’s scheduled announcement for Friday will come three days after he drew backlash for what sounded to some like a defense of China’s persecution of Uighur Muslims.
Asked about the persecution during a CNN-hosted town hall, he replied in a manner that made it sound as if he was defending the communist nation’s behavior as a “norm.”
“The central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightening control in China, and he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that. I point out to him, no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States,” he said.
“And so the idea that I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighur in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One China Policy by making it forceful, I say – and by the, he says he gets it — culturally there are different norms in each country that their leaders are expected to follow.”
The remark triggered a debate because of the assumption that he’d been talking about the “norms” of China versus the “norms” of the United States.
Joe Biden on China’s human rights violations and genocide against the Uighurs: “culturally there are different norms”
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 17, 2021
Personally, I wish Biden hadn’t used the “different norms” phrase, which can be used to justify the “norms” in China. But in context, it’s pretty clear that he’s saying *our* norm is that we speak up for human rights.
— Cathy Young (@CathyYoung63) February 17, 2021
It’s not clear which he’d been referencing.