Former President Donald Trump drew up a secret list deciding which countries were to be the first recipients of the vaccine when it became available in early 2021.
Priority was given to nations with whom the United States had a good relationship.
The list of countries, which included a score assigned to each, was compiled months before the vaccine was developed.
A number of countries considered to be allies, including Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, as well as several European states, were seated in the front of the line.
According to liberals, these nations already have robust healthcare systems and sufficient financial resources to buy their own supplies, as well as infrastructure to distribute and store them so they shouldn’t have been first on the list.
The second category was countries that developed and tested the pandemic-altering vaccine.
Third on the list is Gavi, a public-private global health partnership with a mission of increasing access to vaccines in low-income countries.
Countries not falling into any of the first three categories were automatically placed at the fourth-highest priority level.
It was decided in the priority list that vaccinations would be distributed according to political preferences and alliances rather than according to needs – despite liberals and some world health advocates who wanted to give the taxpayer-paid-for vaccines away to poor countries.
It was unknown at the time whether the virus would wipe out massive portions of the world population so the Trump administration most likely took into account what would be needed to ensure American continuity, such as allies, in the event Communist China took advantage of the situation and became hostile.
According to Politico, which has reviewed the information and interviewed five current and former officials, the document from the Trump Administration was passed along to the Biden Administration in January 2021.
‘We thought that the categories themselves made sense at the time,’ recalled Paul Mango, the former deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services. Mango was not a part of the team that put together the list.
‘The underserved countries were third on the list,’ Mango stated.
‘There was a meeting where the-HHS Secretary Alex Azar said: ‘My guess is everyone in the world is going to be wanting the vaccine. We need to have a plan.
Each country’s ranking was determined based on various factors including the outbreak of the disease and the ability to distribute vaccines.
Liberals say that this was done deliberately by the Trump administration, who put those countries that had less developed healthcare systems and lacked the financial means to acquire doses in significant quantities at the end of the line.
Those on the left, in hindsight, complain that those countries have had a difficult time controlling the spread, as they attempt to make Trump look bad.
A number of departments and agencies weighed in on the decision, including the State Department, Pentagon, USAID, and Department of Homeland Security.
‘We identified categories and we put weights to them and then subject matter experts from each agency came in and informed those categories. From there, we had a panel of experts score each country based on the evidence provided’, a former Trump official said.
‘We just felt there was no other way to do it,’ the person continued.
Trump administration officials say they circulated the document only among a few people to prevent it from being leaked, which likely angered countries around the world and resulted in tense diplomatic discussions.
Democrats who hate Trump say that the fact that the list exists may reveal why so many countries still do not have access to covid vaccines.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat seeking to convince Congress to increase resources going to low- and middle-income countries said ‘The need for transparency is incredibly important and I’ve been in numerous meetings now where I’ve asked for that transparency.’
‘I am now concerned that the lack of transparency is related to the confusion that might exist even within administration as to its strategy for how to address the mounting needs around the world. Or it might be related to not wanting to shed light on the deficit between the need and what’s been allocated or pledged.’
Even though it was written down, Trump’s vaccination priority plan was not implemented because the Biden administration took office before the inoculation effort had been fully initiated.
‘The Biden Administration does not use the previous Administration’s policy or the cited list to make vaccine sharing decisions,’ a statement from WH sources read on Thursday.
Very little information has been revealed about how the Biden administration decides where to send doses.
Described by a Biden official, allocations are ‘determined based upon well-defined and articulated principals: no strings attached, free, as well as a country’s vaccination coverage and access to vaccines.’