There has been a particularly aggressive push from some officials within the administration and within the State Department to share quickly, two sources told CNN. Those officials have stressed that the White House urgently needs to take steps to share vaccines sooner rather than later while some White House health officials have countered that should not happen until the vaccine situation domestically is completely taken care of.
This situation triggered some frustrated officials to encourage business and interest groups outside of government to publicly push the administration to share vaccines in the hope that external pressure will speed up the process, two sources familiar with those discussions told CNN.
Administration officials have always said that when the US is in a position to do more globally, they will. Outside groups making various demands have not been helpful, some say, because the proposition that the administration is following is that first and foremost the US needs to be confident in vaccine efforts here at home. The White House coronavirus response coordinator’s team has taken the lead on in this decision making, administration officials said.
India’s Covid-19 pandemic has been spiraling in recent weeks, and daily cases have been rising continuously for the past 10 days. On Monday, India reported 352,991 new cases, breaking yet another record for the highest single-day figure globally.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken said that the administration will make an announcement about how it will share excess vaccines in the coming days and made it clear that no final decision has been made about which countries will get the doses first.
“For the vaccines that we have directly on hand or will shortly, we’re going to decide whether to do some or all of that through COVAX or how much of that will be done directly, country-to-country. All of that is in the works, and we’ll have a plan in place in the coming days,” Blinken said on CNN on Tuesday.
That announcement is likely to focus on India specifically, and then there will be additional decisions made over the coming weeks on the administration’s broader approach to sharing as they monitor flare ups in Southeast Asia or in other places around the world.
This story is breaking and will be updated.