Moncef Slaoui — chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's Covid-19 vaccine program — said in an interview with Science that he would have joined the global vaccine effort known as COVAX if it was his choice.
“I would, I would,” he said in the interview published Thursday.
CNN reported on Tuesday that because of its ties to the World Health Organization, the United States would not join COVAX, an initiative involving more than 170 countries working to provide worldwide access to an effective Covid-19 vaccine. The initiative is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and WHO.
Slaoui also spoke about vaccines from China in his interview.
While Operation Warp Speed has said from the outset that it will not consider vaccines from China, Slaoui said that if the first vaccine to have reasonable safety and efficacy data comes from there “it’s great if this would be the first demonstration that vaccines can work. That’s great news for the world.”
“And frankly, if China had billions of doses of vaccine after serving its population, we would take it,” Slaoui said. “We are fortunate. I believe we will have vaccines and may not be in that position. I heard the president, which was important to me, saying that if we produce enough vaccine to serve the United States, it will be available to others, including China.”