Connect with us

Politics

Biden-Harris administration unveils strategy for global vaccine sharing

Published

on

Announces allocation plan for first 25 million doses to be shared globally

As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at home and work to end the pandemic worldwide, President Biden has promised that the United States will be an arsenal of vaccines for the world. To do that, the Administration will pursue several additional measures beyond our robust funding for COVAX: Donating from the U.S. vaccine supply to the world and encouraging other nations to do the same, working with U.S. manufacturers to increase vaccine production for the rest of the world, and helping more countries expand their own capacity to produce vaccines including through support for global supply chains.

This vaccine strategy is a vital component of our overall global strategy to lead the world in the fight to defeat COVID-19, including emergency public health assistance and aid to stop the spread and building global public health capacity and readiness to beat not just this pandemic, but the next one.

 Today, the Administration announced its framework for sharing at least 80 million U.S. vaccine doses globally by the end of June and the plan for the first 25 million doses.  

 

Specifically, the Administration announced that:  

 The United States will share vaccines in service of ending the pandemic globally. Today, the Administration announced its framework for sharing these 80 million U.S. vaccine doses worldwide. Specifically, the United States will:

 Share 75% of these vaccines through COVAX. The United States will share at least three-quarters of its donated doses through COVAX, supplying U.S. doses to countries in need. This will maximize the number of vaccines available equitably for the greatest number of countries and for those most at-risk within countries.  For doses shared through COVAX, the United States will prioritize Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, in coordination with the African Union.    

Share 25% for immediate needs and to help with surges around the world. The United States has received requests for vaccines from countries all over the world.  The U.S. will share up to one-quarter of its donated doses directly with countries in need, those experiencing surges, immediate neighbors, and other countries that have requested immediate U.S. assistance. Specifically, we will:

Set the stage for increased global coverage.  The allocation of this first tranche of donated doses reflects the desire of the United States to respond to all regions and lay the ground for increased supply and access throughout the world. 

Prepare for surges and prioritize healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations based on public health data and acknowledged best practice. We will share with countries in urgent need, with a priority on vaccinating frontline workers. The United States will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries.  The U.S. will work with partners who are both ready and in need.  And, our donations will prioritize countries with vaccine readiness plans that prioritize individuals at highest risk of severe disease and those working to help care for them, like health care workers. 

Help countries in need and our neighbors. The United States will share vaccines in our region and across our borders. We first made doses available to our closest neighbors – Canada and Mexico.  Our dose sharing approach prioritizes Latin American and the Caribbean on a per capita basis.  

The U.S. announced the proposed allocation plan for the first 25 Million doses. Based on the framework above and pending legal and regulatory approvals, the United States plans to send our first tranche of 25 million doses:

Nearly 19 million will be shared through COVAX, with the following allocations:

Approximately 6 million for South and Central America to the following countries: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, as well as the Dominican Republic.

Approximately 7 million for Asia to the following countries:  India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands. 

Approximately 5 million for Africa to be shared with countries that will be selected in coordination with the African Union.  

Approximately 6 million will be targeted toward regional priorities and partner recipients, including Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as for United Nations frontline workers.  

The sharing of millions of U.S. vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the U.S. government.  Just like in the United States, we will move as expeditiously as possible, while abiding by U.S. and host country regulatory and legal requirements, to facilitate the safe and secure transport of vaccines across international borders.  This will take time, but the President has directed the Administration to use all the levers of the U.S. government to protect individuals from this virus as quickly as possible.  The specific vaccines and amounts will be determined and shared as the Administration works through the logistical, regulatory and other parameters particular to each region and country.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

Tribute to AVM Laksen Salgado from his mates in officer cadet intake No. 2

Published

on

SLAF No. 2 officer cadet intake consisted of a batch of nine, together with few other in–service inductions. Of the nine, four were Thomians and Jayanath Laksen Chandri Salgado of “Preetheum”, Moratuwa was one of them.

Sala, as he was fondly called by his friends joined with an excellent school record having represented Sri Lanka at the Indo–Sri Lanka athletic meet in his pet 400 meters event as a member of the ACE Athletic Club. It goes without saying that he won his Public Schools’ colours, was a college prefect, a member of the cadet platoon, and also of the 2nd XV rugby team.

Sala’s father, Mr. Lloyd Salgado, who was a proprietary planter was well known to my father who was one time Supdt. Of Police of Moratuwa. Later, even his brother–in–law Surgeon Dr. Wimal Gunaratne, who too was a public school athlete, was well known to me.

Cadet intakes were a result of post ’71 insurgency expansion. As the provision of the infrastructure required was not able to keep pace with manpower expansion, the No. 01 intake of 30 cadets took priority in utilizing available resources. The ‘flyers’ of our batch had to wait till they completed their various phases. This applied to all other branches too.

Diyatalawa (DLA) which is renowned for its salubrious climate was cold during morning PT clad in our thinnest vests. We developed great respect for the Siberian winter which we had read about.

The stagnation in training facilities made Sala and the flying cadets follow the training provided mainly for Regt. Cadets under then Commanding Officer (CO), Wg. Cdr. Bren Sosa and the Officer Commanding Training (OCT). A component of the course was a jungle march to Kuda – Oya in small batches, the flight cadets doing one of them. It so happened that they reached the destination a day earlier than the other groups due to a flying navigational error perhaps. This all-round training would have served in good stead in later service life when commanding stations and for Sala, in particular when he was Director Operations, with ground ops coming under him.

On commissioning, the three flyers were posted to No. 03 Maritime Squadron flying Cessna 337 aircraft under the CO, Sq. Ldr. Christian. However, unexpectedly they were converted to fly Jet Provost (JPT) fighter aircraft which came into their own glory with the ’71 insurgency strike and interdiction sorties. Sala and his batch mates kept flying this aircraft until it was phased out. It took almost another two decades to get back to fighter jet aircraft flying post OP Poonamalai with the Indian Air Force dropping relief supplies over Jaffna, better known as the “Parippu drop”.

Sala, later qualified as a flying instructor and he was selected to undergo No. 313 qualified flying instructors (QFI) course at Central Flying School, Royal Air Force, Leeming, UK. This was a very demanding course in flying training that was a long overdue need of the SLAF. In his seven years as a QFI, culminating in the last two years as the CO of the flying training wing (FTW) generations of pilots had been trained meeting the coveted RAF standards. He was the first to follow the air warfare course at the Air War College, Pakistan Air Force for a period of over a year.

During his career had held many senior appointments as Eastern and Western Zonal Commander, Director Operations and finally as the Chief of Staff. He was a recipient of the Ranawickrema Padakkama (RWP) very early in his career (1992), and without resting on his laurels he continued with his operational contributions till the very end.

Laksen was married to Erandathie and had a son, Laksith, and a daughter, Shalindri. At the time of need they did all they could with love and devotion. We are grateful to Sala’s college friend HDK Silva for keeping us updated on his medical condition without having to trouble Erandathie.

OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE, THEY ONLY FADE AWAY

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE!

Ravi Arunthavanathan

Batchmate

Continue Reading

Politics

Lessons from Lima

Published

on

Sri Lanka’s liberals face a choice: they can ride the horse they’ve been riding for the last 30 years, or they can exchange that horse for one that can, and will, win the race.

The lessons from Peru and Mexico are clear. No socially progressive movement trying to tip the scales against a right wing Government or Opposition will win the race if it focuses on principles to the exclusion of material factors. The superstructure of ideological values does remain, and its relevance cannot be denied. But the material base – issues of class and privilege, relevant to not just ethnic but also economic minorities – continues to hold higher ground. Any Opposition that refuses to engage with these issues can only expect to remain where it is.

Since 1994, liberals have attempted to get closer and closer to their conception of the Sri Lankan polity, only to paradoxically get further and further away from it. That it has had to contend with the nationalist right, Sinhala and Tamil but predominantly the former, cannot be overlooked. Yet, as the recent backlash against neoliberal populism across the Americas, including not only Peru and Mexico, but also Bolsonaro’s Brazil (where a left wing candidate, Edmilson Rodrigues, won the mayoralty of Belém, bordering the Amazon, against an ally of the regime) shows, a viable Opposition must focus on winning the race rather than on what that polity ought to turn into after winning the race. The latter is the afterword; that comes later.

The stakes were particularly high in Peru. Pedro Castillo, the populist who got through with a lead of a little more than 60,000 votes, didn’t just hail from the Left: a dedicated teacher turned trade unionist, he hailed from the country’s marginalised indigenous peasantry.

From the word go, Castillo made clear where his sympathies lay. His opponent, the right wing daughter of a neo-liberal-populist-authoritarian ex-president, indulged lavishly in red-baiting and anticommunist rhetoric. This may surprise some, given that 2021 marks two decades since the Cold War formally came to an end, but in Peru the Cold War never really ended: ruling elites and urban sectors alike continue to view politics through a Cold War prism, associating left wing politics, as Jacobin notes, “with terrorism and criminality.”

That explains not just how Keiko Fujimori could rally support from liberals despite her father’s human rights record, but also how Mario Vargas Llosa, who ran against her father in 1990 on a neo-liberal platform not too different from the latter’s, could lend her his support.

Castillo’s prospects were dismally slim. No less so were Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s, in Mexico. Obrador doesn’t fit the leftist’s mould; he’s more Populist than Marxist. Yet this didn’t help stave off a cascade of right wing alliances, including parties, cartels, and NGOs, from piling up against his party, MORENA, at recent midterm elections. MORENA got through with much better results than what it obtained in 2018, up from 191 seats to 203. As with Castillo’s alliance, however, it lost electorates swinging to the right, especially in Mexico City. Even there the vote bifurcated between working-class and middle-class districts.

If there’s one lesson to be drawn from these elections, it’s that class still matters. Fujimori ran on the promise of a $2,500 one-time dole to all families with at least one COVID-19 patient, plus a 40% tax on corporations engaged in mineral extraction (to be distributed among families living near mineral fields). But she also went about advocating free market reforms; unlike Castillo, she hardly touched the indigenous peasantry. In Mexico, Obrador didn’t really pass himself off as an anti-American populist, and yet his positions on multinational businesses whipped up almost as much anti-left hysteria as it did in Peru. It’s certainly not accurate to view these as pivotal shifts in Latin and Central American politics, but the shift is seismic: it promises to restore the balance from the region’s recent tilt to the neoliberal authoritarian right.

Ironically, Fujomori lacked even her father’s strongman appeal; the mould people expected her to fit into was that of a Benazir Bhutto. Yet due to the divisions that have come to define politics in Peru so dismally well, she found it difficult to cut such a figure. Gaffe after gaffe – including her remark, which, made at an indigenous electorate, sounded for many like a rebuff, that it took time to hitch a ride from Lima to the outstations – revealed the classist arrogance underlying her populist credentials. That a backlash was in the air was inevitable; not a landslide victory for the leftwing maverick, as many thought, but a victory all the same.

In his very radical programme, the man has prescribed a complete turnaround for the economy, reversing three-plus decades of neoliberal populism that has served to widen the divide between rich blancho centres and poor cholo outposts, getting the government to serve the most deprived, and regulating multinationals more tightly. That Lima’s stock exchange recorded a 7.7% drop is to be expected: this is perhaps the most reformist-radical candidate who has emerged in Peru in over a quarter century. While Obrador has made attempts to bridge the gap between his country’s elites and marginalised communities, Castillo, due to the tectonic plates that underlie disparities in his country, has declared war on the Spanish-speaking upper-class.

If Sri Lanka is to learn from Mexico, and more so from Peru, both Government and Opposition must take stock of the material factors that drove Obrador’s and Castillo’s campaigns. It’s a sign of the damage neoliberal authoritarianism has inflicted on Peruvian society that one of Castillo’s proposals is the formulation of a new Constitution. The Constitution is to be enacted by way of a referendum; unlike the reformist goals of liberals and left-liberals, it’s set to incorporate positive rights for marginalised communities, to restore what much of that country’s elite is considered to have taken back from those communities, to set things right. In other words, from constitutional reform onwards, Castillo seeks to restructure the material base underlying Peru’s social contract: a volte-face from how things have been there for over a quarter-century.

Commentators across the West, and elsewhere, have not unjustifiably censured Castillo for his social conservatism: he opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender perspective education. This is not to say that those opposing him rank any better on such concerns. Fujimori herself has adopted similar positions on these issues: the only difference between them is that while one has advocated the continuation of policies that have perpetuated economic disparities, the other has called for a reversal of those policies. Regarding other concerns, the leftwing teacher turned trade unionist has remarked that, relevant as they may be, they remain, at best, secondary to the “battle between the rich and the poor, the struggle between the master and the slave.”

With marginalised indigenous communities in particular, material incentives, the promise of a better deal, resonate well. Despite having adopted controversial stances on single-issues, Castillo was able to communicate his understanding of the importance of such incentives. Sri Lanka does not have to adopt those controversial stances, but it can take a leaf from the Peruvian book based on how people responded to Castillo’s call. This is where both liberals and nationalists have gone wrong: the former believe institutional reforms will set everything right, the latter believe greater security will do the trick. Is it any wonder that our liberals and nationalists have ignored Obrador and Castillo? Not really. Their myopia is telling; they should wake up.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka’s Opposition must remould and recast itself in a Left Populist light, discarding its neoliberal heritage and embracing a model that focuses on both winning the race and winning hearts and minds. I believe Dayan Jayatilleka put it best: “[t]oday… it has proved almost impossible to defend liberal-democracy without populism, the market economy without social democracy, the centre without a left orientation.”

This becomes particularly relevant when one realises that the then Joint Opposition, led by the Mahinda Rajapaksa wing of the SLPP, touted a Left Populist Bonarpartist line. That it morphed later into a centre-right Bonapartist outfit, flanked on the one hand by a nationalist clergy and on the other by the Colombo bourgeoisie, should therefore inform the present Opposition’s strategy: unlike the JO, which gave way to the SLPP, the SJB cannot afford to give way and yield place to the UNP. To do so would be to risk political suicide. Peru and Mexico are reminders of what the Opposition can do. They are also reminders of what the Government should do.

The writer can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com

Continue Reading

Politics

‘Fraud on a Power’- Exercised in Vaccinations Management?

Published

on

by Chandra Jayaratne

The doctrine “Fraud on a Power” (also known as “improper purpose” doctrine) was one of the key fundamental building blocks in framing the potential charges in a high profile suspected corruption and money laundering case investigated under the ‘Yahapalanaya’ regime. This investigation was assisted, by a set of independent professionals acting as authorized independent volunteers. It appears that the prosecutors of the Attorney General’s department make limited use of these concepts.

The pigeon holed investigation report delved in to the real issues that should be pursed in a purported corruption and money laundering investigation; and in addition dealt with the failures in governance, failures of fiduciary duty, lack of professionalism, transparency, accountability, oppression and mismanagement and even willful misrepresentation. These findings regrettably had not been covered even in a specially appointed Commission of Inquiry, which cost the state coffers millions of rupees.

More regrettably, the report under reference lies in many a cubby hole of the leading investigators and prosecutors, without essential follow up action; nor are these findings even being used to develop ‘lessons in good governance’, whereby similar actions can be prevented from being repeated in the future in any state entity.

Article 3 of our Constitution states “In the Republic of Sri Lanka, sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise” whilst Article 4 inter alia states “The Sovereignty of the people shall be exercised and enjoyed in the following manner: the executive power of the people, including the defense of Sri Lanka, shall be exercised by the President of the Republic elected by the people;” It is thus evident that the President, the Cabinet and the duly appointed Secretaries of the Ministries, empowered with Executive Power by the Constitution must exercise such power for the benefit of the people; and are whilst holding such office and executing such power are committed to act as Trustees of the Sovereign People.

The readers of this article are kindly requested to review the following facts as narrated and assess, firstly whether the facts as set out as purportedly connected with the “Pandemic related Vaccinations Management” in Sri Lanka are accurate. Provided the purported case studies as noted below are factual and can be validated by evidence, the readers are requested to assess whether these actions tantamount to those in governance, including those directly involved and those in the apex of Governance under “Command Responsibility Principles” are guilty of;

 The violation of the Constitution and impacting on the Citizens Fundamental Rights to Life, Freedoms, Justice, Equity and Equality;

 The violation of any of the International Conventions to which Sri Lanka is a signatory and which have validation by local laws;

The violation of International Humanitarian Law and connected Jurisprudence, including joint Criminal Enterprise and Command Responsibility;

Any offenses under the Criminal Procedure Code;

Criminal Negligence and or Failure to Avoid Disasters;

Policy/Priority Corruption, Administrative Corruption and / or Financial Corruption and /or offenses under Bribery Act Section 70 dealing with Corruption.

It is also up to the readers to assess whether the undernoted purported events as listed below as Case Studies developed from purported information, media exposes and narrations by connected parties demonstrate and support the possibility that the vaccinations management and administration are tainted by bad intents, “power having been exercised for a purpose, or with an intention, going beyond the scope of or not justified by the instrument creating the power (ie. The Constitution)”, “Abuse of Power”, “inadequate deliberation” and/or “failing to take relevant considerations or taking account of irrelevant considerations”, “acting on considerations for their own or their family personal benefit or for the benefit of any other third parties, outside the interests of the effective beneficiaries”, “misbehaving with their power” and “is sufficiently serious as to amount to a breach of fiduciary duty” and thus tantamount to “Fraud on a Power”:

 

Case Study 1

1. Frustrating several attempts by leading Business Associations and Chambers, at no cost to the state, in accessing vaccines for their staff, whose well being was considered essential for the production operations and long term competitiveness and thus keep value addition to the economy uninterrupted ( Refer Separate Case study below) and

2. In the process of such frustration the State loosing the opportunity to receive at no cost a significant number of vaccines to be administered to the common citizens;

3. Not allowing the already established private sector agents of the vaccine manufacturers from actively engaging and enriching the procurement process, whether such procurements be by the State or as a part of a private sector business initiatives

 

Case Study 2

1. The Failure to make timely strategic decisions related to guarantee required supplies in a phased out manner and ensure procurement processes and supply chain management plans executed with effective risk mitigation

2. The failure to have in place a priority list in the administration of the limited stocks of vaccines

3. Failure to transparently and with integrity administer the vaccines, strictly in line with the agreed priority

4. Ensuring, where two doses of the vaccine are essential for effective risk mitigation, that adequate stocks are maintained for administration of both doses to the covered participants, within the recommended time gap

5. The validity of the opinion publicly promoted by Health Officials of the Ministry that it is better to give one dose to many participants as against the required two doses and also attempt to stretch the number of vaccinations from a vaccine vial from 9-10 by administering 11 or above vaccines

6. The GMOA submission of 1st June titled “Strategic Interventions towards achieving optimal control of Covid 19 in Sri Lanka” identifying the immediate need to restructure the Epidemiology Unit, ensure effective oversight and initiate an audit in to all activities connected with the vaccinations administration

7. A fully functional vaccine registration, administration, and management system developed by the State entity Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA), purportedly lying dormant awaiting formal authorization by the Health Authorities for formal launch. This purported reluctance to launch the system is despite clear understanding that if such a systems was in place, good governance, better transparency and operational and decision making integrity would have been assured with the optimization of economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the vaccinations management process

 

Case Study 3

.

Whereas the Apparel Exporters and the Apparel Industry as a whole and the sector Country Ratings being internationally assessed by Importers based on “ON TIME DELIVERY” (OTD); and Sri Lanka in 2020 having had OTD of around 60% vs Bangladesh 98%; and Sri Lanka’s Exports in 2020 significantly declining vs Bangladesh showing a 5 % growth within a highly restricted market, the Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka (JAAFSL), recognizing that despite 2020 low market performance as against competitors and yet having the Order Book for 2021 full by December 2020; and realizing that staff availability, their health and ability to function in the Covid impacted environment was a key driver of competitiveness is purported to have approached the Government in January 2021, with the under noted proposal:

The JAAFSL offers to fund at its cost, with an outlay of USD 20 mln, against a secured and confirmed order negotiated via local agents for WHO accredited vaccines at 3 $ each per vial, sufficient to cover approximately 6. 7 million vaccinations of which 0.7 million doses would be retained by JAAFSL for the 2 does each of the 350,000 apparel workers, with the balance handed over to the government for use to vaccinate common citizens, and

This offer by JAAFSL is purported to have been topped up by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) with an offer to provide funding of up to an additional USD 30 mln, and

With the total pool of funds garnered by JAAFSL and CCC, the order could have been made out to support at the offered price per jab of USD 3 to vaccinate 16. 7 mln jabs in total, and regrettably

The State is purported to have not approved this initiative, stating that the State will be the sole importer of the vaccinations

Case Study 4.

The Public expose already in the social media and other media that Bangladesh Government Order for Sinopharm vaccinations are at USD 5 per vial less than the price at which Sri Lanka is procuring the same vaccination direct from the same source of supply in China and that similar reduced charge procurements have purportedly been made by Pakistan too

 

Case Study 5

The media / social media expose of the ad hoc nature and selective manner of vaccine administration; reporting that unannounced administrations are taking place at unusual locations; and in some instances purportedly even being unauthorized and totally outside of the announced priority of administration being; thus clearly evidencing the by passing of equity and principles of priority in the application of the second dose of the Vaccinations

 

 

Case Study 6

The Media reporting that in some instances, those receiving the first dose of the vaccine were forced to sign a declaration prior to such administration affirming that that they are not insisting on the second dose of the same vaccine being administered to them as a prerequisite.

The report of the International Tribunal for a post-event global actions review in dealing with the pandemic, headed by the former lady president of Liberia and former lady PM of New Zealand has recommended inter alia the creation of a global mechanism to be adopted in similar situations; withsuch mechanism taking charge of action accountability for global good; and be in readiness to action them anywhere in the world, in the event any of the countries, their leaders and global institutions fail to take the best option strategic action.

Does this recommendation, which comes from the highlighted failures of timely strategic information sharing, lack of urgent strategic actions, lack of a single mined agreed action plan with focus on prevention and contingency plan, all resulting in implementation delays and failures to align the global leadership to such a path, culminate in placing the blame on WHO, China, US, G7 the and possibly even the UN and its other agencies? In such a backdrop, can National leaders who failed their people in the current pandemic like Presidents Trump, Bolsanaro (now on trial by the Senate of Brazil) . Philippines President and Premier Modi and others, be charged under International Humanitarian Laws and associated Jurisprudence or under Public Interest Litigation, for failure to avoid disaster within the principles of command responsibility?

 

Should caring intellectual elders of society form themselves in to a Peoples Commission of Inquiry and conduct a post audit of the vaccinations management, seek the citizens assessments and suggestions and determine the weak links in the administration this time round and develop a local mechanism to be adopted in similar situations in the future and place such recommendations before the citizens and those in governance.

Continue Reading

Trending