The United States government should take up a position of world leadership on ending the global COVID-19 pandemic through vaccine outreach to the world. Such an effort would serve a clear humanitarian purpose. It would represent forward defense of our security interests by slowing the virus’s rate of mutation. No other action would so clearly signify a US commitment to enlightened international leadership at a time when our strength and outward looking vision is increasingly being challenged and no other initiative would do more to stabilize the global economy.
Wise policy making requires balancing rigorous attention to detail with bold vision. If national commitment awaited detailed technocratic plans, the U.S. would never have launched the Marshall Plan, sent a man to the moon, or launched the PEPFAR policy that has done so much to combat AIDS. With the Delta variant of COVID becoming pervasive and more mutations likely, now is the time for bold action. The necessary global approach will involve financial commitments, as well as active policies to encourage production capacity at home and abroad, to strengthen local health system capacity in partnership with developing countries, and to promote private sector initiatives. We must reject the false dichotomy between domestic and global efforts. Given mutation risk, safety anywhere depends on safety everywhere.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that roughly 60 percent of the world could be vaccinated by mid-2022 for $50 billion. This is less than one percent of what the US has already committed in response to COVID. Other nations would join a US initiative. Because US spending could be leveraged by the international financial institutions and the private sector, each dollar of US contribution could be leveraged 5 or 10 to 1. In all likelihood, US investment in global vaccination would pay for itself several times over by strengthening the US and global economy, reducing further virus spread, and building international good will towards the United States.
Business Roundtable; Former White House Chief of Staff
Aspen Economic Strategy Group; Former White House Chief of Staff
Peterson Institute for International Economics
University of Michigan
David M. Cote
James S. Crown
Henry Crown & Company
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
Mastercard; Former US Trade Representative
Warburg Pincus; Former US Treasury Secretary
University of Chicago
American Action Forum
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Melissa S. Kearney
The University of Maryland; Aspen Economic Strategy Group
Lindsay Goldberg; Former US Treasury Secretary
Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget
National Urban League
Michael A. Nutter
Former Mayor of Philadelphia
Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
The Paulson Institute; Aspen Economic Strategy Group; Former US Treasury Secretary
Center for American Progress; Former White House Chief of Staff
Alphabet and Google
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PSP Partners; Former US Secretary of Commerce
Centerview Partners; Former US Treasury Secretary
American Idea Foundation; Former US Speaker of the House
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Michael R. Strain
American Enterprise Institute
Lawrence H. Summers
Harvard University; Former US Treasury Secretary
Brunswick Group; Former President of the World Bank
*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the position of members’ institutions.