The United States is increasing its support for international access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, announced the launch of a new programme called the United States Government’s Initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX.
According to USAID, the new Global VAX programme will invest $315 million in vaccine readiness programmes, as well as $10 million for in-country vaccine manufacturing and $75 million for delivering life-saving resources such as oxygen.
The initiative will focus on expanding assistance to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where vaccination rates are still shockingly low in comparison to other parts of the world.
While nearly 70% of the population in the United States has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, only about 17% of Botswana’s population has received the new, rapidly spreading omicron variant.
This disparity has played out all over the world, and it’s something that health experts have been warning about since the outbreak began: The World Health Organization estimates that other countries will not have wider access to the vaccine until late 2022 or 2023, while richer countries rapidly vaccinate their populations and buy up doses.
Before the announcement of Global VAX, the US had already pledged more doses too low- and middle-income countries than any other country. President Joe Biden claims that the United States has “shipped for free more vaccine than all other countries combined.”
Despite this, only about a quarter of the 1.2 billion vaccine doses donated by the United States have been distributed.
And the spread of omicron, which is now found in more than a third of US states, demonstrates that Americans are vulnerable regardless of where a new variant first appears.
In the COVID-19 case, the court ordered the hospital to allow ivermectin treatment.
A Pennsylvania man on a ventilator in a medically induced coma from COVID-19 was allowed to be treated with the controversial drug ivermectin thanks to a court order issued late Friday.
Darla Smith, Keith Smith’s wife, filed a lawsuit in York County Court last week, asking a judge to order UPMC Memorial Hospital to treat her husband with ivermectin and to issue an emergency injunction forcing the hospital to do so.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic that is not included in the medical centre’s COVID-19 protocols and is not approved for the treatment of the virus by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Darla Smith’s request for an emergency injunction to force UPMC to administer ivermectin was denied by York County Judge Clyde Vedder in a somewhat perplexing ruling.
However, the order directed UPMC to allow the doctor who prescribed the drug, as well as another physician or registered nurse, to administer it under the doctor’s “guidance and supervision.”
The court order sparked a weekend of back-and-forth between the lawyers involved, Darla Smith, and the hospital’s administration, culminating in Keith Smith, 52, receiving his first dose of ivermectin on Sunday night.
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