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Rep. Bera Applauds President Biden’s Decision to Remain in World Health Organization, Join COVAX Vaccine Program

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) today applauded the decision by the Biden Administration to remain in the World Health Organization (WHO) and join COVAX, the global efforts to manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine.

“The United States has a long and proud history of leading international efforts on global health security. This leadership not only kept Americans safe at home, but it saved millions of lives abroad. Our decades worth of smart and strategic investments in global health programs have helped lead the fight against diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and smallpox.

Unfortunately, The Trump Administration squandered American leadership on global health with its go-it-alone approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to disastrous results for our own health and security. Their decisions to leave the World Health Organization and skip the international efforts to find a vaccine were not based on science, but on politics and fear.

COVID-19 is a global virus that will require global cooperation, driven by American ingenuity and leadership. We can no longer sit on the sidelines while other countries, like China, fill the void and dictate the rules on global health security.

I applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to remain in the World Health Organization and join the COVAX vaccine efforts. These are critical steps in defeating this pandemic once and for all.

I also urge the Biden Administration to join the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is dedicated to working with COVAX to develop vaccines to defeat SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens with epidemic potential. I plan on reintroducing my legislation which authorizes U.S. participation in CEPI- and which passed the House three times last year- in the coming days, but the administration can act now.”

Rep. Bera has been a leader in Congress on global health security. He chaired the first congressional hearing on the coronavirus on Feb. 5th, sounded the alarm after the Trump Administration disbanded the global health security office in the National Security Council in 2018, and is a member on the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security.

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