Should the United States donate doses of the COVID vaccine to less wealthy countries? Some want to wait until all Americans who want to can get vaccinated

As the US faces calls to share excess doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with less wealthy countries, a new study suggests that Americans have different views on the appropriate levels and timing of so-called vaccine diplomacy. they are less likely to support higher levels of US COVID-19 vaccine donation to low- and middle-income countries, and more likely to say they wanted to wait until everyone in the US wanted to. their injections would have been vaccinated, according to the study led by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers in the peer-reviewed journal Vaccine.

“This may be because older adults are themselves a higher risk group and, as a result, may be more concerned about their own health or that of their peers,” the authors suggested. Similarly, uninsured respondents were more likely to say they wanted to wait to donate until all American recipients willing to receive the vaccine had been vaccinated, and were more likely to back off by waiting until all high-risk Americans they would have been vaccinated. This could point to the vaccine access concerns of economically vulnerable Americans, the authors wrote, “and speaks to the importance of developing and communicating a robust plan for equitable access to vaccines within the US.” Meanwhile, self-identified Democrats in the study were more likely than Republicans to support higher levels of donation, consistent, according to the study, with Democratic support for universal health care and more lenient immigration policies. Respondents who scored higher on Social Mastery Orientation (a tendency to believe that “one’s own group should dominate and be superior to other groups,” as the study put it) were also more likely to regress by waiting until all groups Americans who wanted coronavirus vaccines would have been inoculated and are less likely to want higher levels of donation. This characteristic, the authors said, was “by far the largest predictor.” About eight in 10 respondents overall said they supported donating at least 10% of future doses of the US COVID-19 vaccine to poorer countries, although nearly six in 10 said the doses they should not be donated until “at least some national vaccination threshold has been met.” . “Despite some misgivings among a minority of the sample, many respondents recognized the importance of closing the gap,” study co-author Bernard Fuemmeler, a professor at the VCU School of Medicine, said in a statement. legislators for proposals to donate the vaccine to be accepted “That said, the authors cautioned that their sample’s race and ethnic quotas, which allowed them to compare demographic subgroups, may also have leaned toward a greater willingness to donate doses. that the percentages given were not representative of the US population. But the findings still have implications for how US legislators and healthcare professionals can build public support among different groups to donate vaccine doses abroad, they said. authors, and how messages should vary. “Specifically, those with high [Social Dominance Orientation] Beliefs are likely to be more effectively persuaded by messages that capitalize on American exceptionalism and the need to provide aid to the less advanced, while those affiliated with the Democratic Party may be more persuaded by collectivist messages that emphasize that we are all together in this, ”they wrote. What the US has done so far, President Biden projected in early March that the US would have enough doses by the end of May to vaccinate all adults. “We want to be oversupplied and prepared,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said before Biden’s announcement days after the United States would buy an additional 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson JNJ vaccine, + 0.71 % At the end of the year. to allow “maximum flexibility”. Meanwhile, Biden faces pressure from multiple corners to donate additional doses to other nations, as countries like China and India have done as a form of diplomacy. “We’re going to have a glut,” Zeke Emanuel, an oncologist and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who helped draft the Affordable Care Act and advised Biden’s transition team, told Axios in March. . “It would be unethical, and it would be a diplomatic and strategic mistake, to say that we need to accumulate a reserve of 100 million doses while China and Russia are selling people and saying, ‘You count.’ The Biden administration, which re-engaged the US with the World Health Organization once the president took office, has so far said it would lend 4 million AstraZeneca AZN in total, + 0.40% dose to Mexico and Canada, where regulators have licensed that vaccine, and would contribute $ 4 billion to Covax, the global vaccine exchange effort to ensure a fairer distribution between the lowest and highest income nations. Biden and the leaders of Japan, India, and Australia (collectively known as the “Quad” alliance) have also pledged to help Indo-Pacific countries with vaccination, including through US financial support from Indian manufacturer Biological E for the production of at least one billion doses of vaccine. by the close of 2022. When asked about additional steps the Biden administration is planning, particularly in the way of donating vaccine doses, and at what point the administration would feel it had enough vaccine to begin donating doses in overseas, a White House spokesperson told MarketWatch that Psaki’s comments during a separate briefing on March 22. Responding to a question about how to share vaccine doses, Psaki noted that the US had been one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, saying that “there are still a number of unpredictable factors that we need to plan for as best we can. . capacity ”, such as the impact of variants and the best course of action for children, who are not yet eligible to receive the currently licensed Pfizer PFE, + 0.41%, Moderna MRNA, -1.00% and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. As management gains confidence that its vaccine supply is sufficient, he added, it will explore options for dose sharing more widely. “We fully recognize that to defeat the pandemic globally … the world community must be vaccinated. But there is a shortage of supply, at this point, all over the world, but also in the whole country still ”, he said. “We are not sitting on a secret dose of supplies. We’re focused on getting them out the door as quickly as possible right now. ”