WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday expressed concerns over Russia and China using Covid-19 vaccines to engage with countries in a way where they’re “not holding them to the same standard” the US and a number of other countries would do.
“We are concerned by Russia and China using vaccines to engage with countries in a way where they’re not holding them at times to the same standard the United States and a number of other countries would hold them to on human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and even freedom of media. Of course that’s a concern,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
“But the President’s focus is on ensuring the American people are vaccinated. We look forward to engaging with and continuing to engage with and contributing to the global community’s effort to do that. But our first priority is vaccinating the American people,” she said.
Psaki was responding to a question if the Biden administration is worried that the US is going to be left far behind Russia and China which are giving vaccine to African and South American countries by tens of millions.
The United States, she said, has also made a major contribution to COVAX which is an international body coordinating the safe, equitable, fair distribution of vaccines across the country. That is the mechanism and the body that the US feels this should be done through, the press secretary said.