A day after the US rejoined WHO, the newly minted Vice President Kamala Harris told WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the Biden administration believes that the UN agency is vital to controlling the spread of coronavirus and building back better global health and pandemic preparedness. Just hours after being sworn-in, Biden had informed that the US ‘intends to remain a member’ of WHO. Dismissing the decisions made by the previous administration of abandoning the UN health agency, Biden in a letter announced the decision of rejoining WHO and retracted Donald Trump’s move who had even called the agency ‘Chinese organisation’.
During a phone on January 21, Harris discussed the decision by the Biden administration to rejoin the UN agency. She emphasised that she and the President believe that the WHO is vital to controlling the spread of coronavirus. The Vice President and the director-general also discussed the resumption of the US’ role in the global public health and humanitarian response to the pandemic.
Further, according to to a readout of the call issued by the White House, Harris also stressed on the Biden administration's strong support for efforts to strengthen the global COVID-19 response, mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls, and advance global health security to prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. The VP even discussed the importance of making the US safer through cooperation. Tedros, on the other hand, thanked Harris for the call and congratulated her and Biden on their inauguration. Both of them reiterated that they look forward to meeting in person.
Biden on Wednesday had said that the US will be a part of WHO’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to UN Director-General Antonio Guterres, the new US President said that the WHO plays a crucial role in the world's fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as well as countless other threats to global health and health security. The United States will continue to be a full participant and a global leader in confronting such threats and advancing global health and health security, he added.
Meanwhile, Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci also announced renewed US support for the World Health Organisation, laying out new commitments to tackle the coronavirus and other global health issues. Fauci said that the US will join the UN health agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to people in need, whether rich or poor countries. He added that the US will also resume full funding and staffing support for WHO.
"As a WHO member state, the United States will work constructively with partners to strengthen and importantly reform the WHO, to help lead the collective effort to strengthen the international COVID-19 response and address its secondary impacts on people, communities, and health systems around the world," Fauci said.