Departing COVID czar Jeff Zients chose a White House press briefing Tuesday to announce the U.S. “national interest” is best served if the entire world is vaccinated against coronavirus to ward against potential new variants.
He spoke after senators ditched global funding plans from a coronavirus spending deal.
“It is a real disappointment that there’s no global funding in this bill. This virus knows no borders, and it’s in our national interest to vaccinate the world and protect against possible new variants,” Zients outlined.
“Without additional funding for a global response, we won’t have resources to help get more shots in arms in countries in need,” he added.
Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. https://t.co/8h2HLwYZM0
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The Hill reports just 24 hours earlier senators announced they reached a deal to allocate $10 billion in funding to combat the virus. The agreement omits money for the full international coronavirus response.
The initial proposal, worth $15.6 billion including $5 billion for global vaccine efforts, was struck from the final deal because of disagreements over how to pay for it. The White House initially requested $22.5 billion in funding.
The U.S. has already provided more than 515 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to upward of 110 countries, according to the State Department.
Zients lamented the deficiency in global funding “has real implications on our efforts to vaccinate the world.”
“Without the additional global funding, [the United States Agency for International Development] does not have the resources it needs to help countries get more shots in arms,” Zients said.
“We’ll be forced to scale back the work that we do to provide oxygen and other lifesaving supplies to countries that need them. Our global genomic sequencing capabilities will fall off, and that undermines our ability to detect emerging variants beyond our borders,” he added.
As Breitbart News reported, Zients will depart his job as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator next month after a year of leading President Joe Biden’s team.
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced his decision to depart Thursday, after a year of leading Biden’s team. https://t.co/yj58xFg8FK
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) March 17, 2022
Under Zients leadership, the Biden administration was caught off guard by the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus, leaving the country unprepared.
He also oversaw the administration’s response during a testing shortage around the Christmas season, which left Americans frustrated.
Zients will be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.