It is not a new face for Democratic governments. Gayle Smith was in charge of the USAID agency (federal government agency coordinating international aid carried out by the United States government) during the years of Barack Obama in the White House. Today, he returns to Washington with a special assignment: coordinate a global response to COVID 19 and health security.
This new group, to be led by Smith, is detached from the state department. With experience managing the international response to the Ebola crisis, the focus will now be on diplomatic efforts to coordinate vaccination internationally. The designation comes at a time when requests – and criticisms – to the United States are raining down for the shortage of vaccines in the rest of the world, compared to the access to them in this country.
“We have a responsibility to other countries to control the virus within the United States, but very soon we will get to the point where we will have to increase our international efforts because we will only be safe at home if COVID is controlled globally,” said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during Smith’s unveiling ceremony.
Blinken also highlighted the need for the United States to take a role as a world leader and assured that the possibility of sharing vaccines with countries where they are lacking is being explored. So far, there is only an agreement with Mexico and Canada to share vaccines, but that could easily be extended to other countries.
Antony Blinken: “We can do much more on this issue, and many nations are asking us to do so”
“As we gain confidence with the amount of vaccines available to our population, we will be able to start sharing with other countries that have not been able to secure the same number of doses. We know that we can do much more on this issue, and many nations are asking us to do so”Added Blinken, who, when asked by journalists, assured that the country has no intention of exchanging vaccines for political favors.
Gayle Smith previously served as executive director of the ONE campaign that seeks to eliminate extreme poverty and preventable diseases globally. His position in the Biden administration is considered temporary, and will be on loan from the foundation, while the international crisis of COVID 19 lasts.
“If the virus moves faster than us, it beats us. But with a purpose of unity, science, vigilance and leadership, we can overcome any virus, “Smith told reporters in Washington DC
According to figures provided by the White House, 100 million people in the country have already received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and some 60 million people already have complete immunity, that is, 18 percent of the country’s population. Last Friday there was a record of 4 million vaccinated in one day, while the daily average of the last week was around 3 million people.
However, in the last week there has been a spike in the number of new confirmed cases in 27 of the 50 states, most of them in the north of the country. However, the cases are often less serious than in the past, and the authorities are confident.
“You have to redouble the bet and hold out a little longer. The vaccination of the people in this country is going to overcome the wave of the virus. There is no doubt that the vaccine will win ”, said Anthony Fauci, the government’s top epidemiologist.