TAIPEI (Reuters) - U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday that any U.S. vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 would be shared fairly with the rest of the world, once the U.S. need has been satisfied.
There are more than 200 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development around the world, including more than 20 in human clinical trials. U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to have a shot ready before year’s end, though they typically take several years to develop and test for safety and effectiveness.
“Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States,” Azar told reporters while on a visit to Taiwan.
“But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on.”
He did not elaborate.
Azar also said that the United States’ decision to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) did not mean less international involvement for his country in global public health.
“The United States has always been and will remain the largest funder of global public health in the world,” he added.
“After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past.”
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kevin Liffey
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