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COVID-19

Time for U.S. to share more COVID vaccines?

Samantha Fields Mar 22, 2021
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According to experts, refusing to distribute its COVID-19 vaccines globally makes the U.S. look ethically, economically, and scientifically unsound when it comes to recovery. Leon Neal/Getty Images
COVID-19

Time for U.S. to share more COVID vaccines?

Samantha Fields Mar 22, 2021
Heard on:
According to experts, refusing to distribute its COVID-19 vaccines globally makes the U.S. look ethically, economically, and scientifically unsound when it comes to recovery. Leon Neal/Getty Images
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Oxford University and AstraZeneca announced Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine is 79% effective overall and 100% effective at preventing severe disease, according to preliminary results from U.S. clinical trials. 

The Biden administration said last week that it will send about 4 million doses of the vaccine to Canada and Mexico, but it’s holding on to several million more, even though the AstraZeneca vaccine is not yet authorized in the U.S. and the administration has already secured more than enough doses of COVID vaccine for everyone in the country. 

“Supply is going to exceed demand sometime in the midsummer, late summer,” said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, who advised President Joe Biden during the transition of power. “We should be pretty aggressive about sending the vaccine overseas to help other countries that are in need.”

China, which has largely controlled the disease, is sending more than half of its doses to other countries, and Russia is also exporting vaccine. 

“We could do the same,” Emanuel said. “It would make a big ‘soft power’ difference in terms of foreign affairs to these countries, rather than making us look like Scrooge. And I think that’s very important from an ethical standpoint, very important from an international diplomatic standpoint.”

Because most countries don’t have the capacity to produce a vaccine on their own, it’s also the only way to get the pandemic under control globally. 

“In a world where COVID is running rampant across the world and not in the United States, unless we’re going to be a fortress nation that’s not going to let anybody travel here ever, you’re going to have variants emerge elsewhere in the world, in such a way that they pose a danger to the United States,” said Glenn Cohen, a professor of health law and bioethics at Harvard Law School. 

Both healthwise and economically. 

“If we’re living in a world where large parts of the world don’t get fully vaccinated until 2022 or 2023, those are people who can’t travel to our shores. There are people who will not be able to consume our goods. There are people who will be in situations of political instability and suffering, and there’s going to be major economic loss,” Cohen said. 

And the U.S. is now in a position to do something about that — by both sharing what it has and pushing drug companies to ramp up production even more.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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