A small group in Southern California planned to donate thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to nearby Mexico, which was struggling to vaccinate its population, but the White House Vaccine Task Force banned it and destroyed the vaccine doses, the Washington Post reported .
This is not the first time the Biden government has foiled attempts to donate leftover vaccines to countries in need. White House officials have stated that the vaccine doses are federally owned, meaning states, local governments or other organizations cannot donate them, according to the Post.
The White House has a vaccine donation program through the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. has donated 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 different countries, according to reports so far White House.
President BidenJoe BidenBiden: The Democrats’ spending plan is “a bigger goddamn thing” than Obamacare Biden says it is open to changes, removing filibusters to improve suffrage. Biden: Comment that the DOJ should prosecute those who submit subpoenas To oppose “not appropriate” had promised that the United States would be the “world arsenal of vaccines” and “play a vital role in achieving the ambitious goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the eligible population by next year,” USAID said in a statement Thursday.
Nevertheless, the federal government has repeatedly rejected requests to donate cans that are about to expire to countries in need, reports the Post.
These policies have frustrated health care workers, especially those who work along the southern border, and have seen people in Mexico desperate to be vaccinated as overdoses pile up across the border in California.
“I contacted the White House Vaccine Task Force and was told it was not possible,” Eric McDonald, chief medical officer for San Diego County, told the Post.
Speaking anonymously to the Post, a US official said of the issue, “Given the chain of custody considerations, moving cans from more than 80,000 vendors would pose significant legal and logistical challenges.”
The U.S.-Mexico gap has narrowed since the summer when COVID-19 peaked, according to the Post, but Mexico still lacks enough doses to vaccinate minors.
To date, the US has donated approximately 10.9 million vaccines to Mexico, which is among the top recipients of American vaccine donations. About 40 percent of Mexicans have been vaccinated, and by October 11, about 4.6 percent of COVID-19 vaccine doses are wasted, the Post reports, citing federal data.
The Hill reached out to the White House Vaccine Task Force for comment but did not receive an immediate response.