Students, teachers react to Trump administration opting out of COVAX

United States decides to not participate in the coalition of countries searching for a vaccine

Melanie Koch and Mackenna Moslander

WEB EXCLUSIVE The Trump administration announced Tuesday that the U.S. will not partake in the World Health Organization’s international COVID-19 vaccine research, known as COVAX.

More than 150 nations are considering joining the COVAX research and 70 have already committed to the collaboration including Japan, Canada and Switzerland according to the World Health Organization. 

This move to not participate follows the United States’ decision in July to withdraw from collaborations with the World Health Organization. This was due to concerns the organization is being heavily persuaded by China and in need of improvement, according to ABC News

“If the US were to join the World Health Organization study we could ensure a safe and healthy vaccine for everyone,” freshman Brennan Damond said. “[Although] doing it independently could be risky.” 

The choice to abstain from COVAX could have a wide variety of results. By not participating in the study, the U.S. is separating itself from over 100 other countries in the search for a vaccine. 

“I don’t know how beneficial it will be for the U.S. to work independently,” sophomore Ella Plotinsky said. “If many countries work as a team [it] make things happen faster than working alone,” 

This decision allows the United States to focus on domestic coronavirus vaccine trials; three of which are in their final stages according to U.S. News. 

 “[This decision] contradicts sound economic principles,” Jason Konik, history and social sciences teacher, said. “By turning down the assistance of other countries regarding things we don’t do efficiently, his policy compels us to try and do those things on our own when our time and resources would be better spent on things that we do well.”

Although there are many trials working, there is not an official successful vaccine. There is a risk that if none of the national trials work, the U.S. could be even more behind on finding a result according to The Washington Post

“[If] Trump acted early to ensure the health of [the] American people [the] numbers would be much lower,” Damond said. “His goals and actions should not just be what benefits him but the health and lives of the citizens.”