TL;DR (2-minute read)
- The Biden Administration is pledging to participate in the World Health Organization’s COVAX program by donating 500 million Pfizer vaccinations to foreign countries.
- This will cost $9.75 billion in taxpayer funding to accomplish as the Pfizer vaccination is priced most expensive at $19.50 per dose.
- It would be in the better interests of the United States to offer vaccinations in exchange for goods or spend less on the program and more on domestic affairs.
Many are aware of the new announcement by the Biden administration that 500 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations are being purchased and distributed. 200 million of which are being donated to foreign countries this year, with the other 300 million ending up in the same hands in 2022. The World Health Organization is planning on offering 2 billion doses globally by the end of 2021 through their COVAX humanitarian program. Since the U.S. joined the World Health Organization under the Biden administration, Biden is hoping to set a precedent for other countries to follow and invest in the program. The problem lies though in the price of these vaccinations for the federal government: how much are taxpayers obligated to pay to essentially be provided nothing in return?
Here’s why America should not buy vaccines for other countries:
1: The High Price of Pfizer Vaccines for Taxpayers
Each producer of the Coronavirus vaccination has in some way released their pricing for federal government purchase and the costs per dose are as follows:
- Pfizer / BioNTech – $19.50
- Novavax – $16
- Moderna – $15
- Johnson & Johnson – $10
- AstraZeneca – $4
At a whopping $19.50 per dose, the cost overall to American taxpayers would be $9,750,000,000. To put 9 billion dollars into perspective, our annual budget for something like education is 74 billion dollars, and our annual budget for operating the government is 90 billion dollars.
2: There are Cheaper Alternatives to Help
It’s odd that the U.S. government would opt to purchase something so expensive, especially considering there are significantly cheaper alternatives like the AstraZeneca vaccination. It offers doses at no profit to themselves to provide the cheapest price greatest availability to lower-income nations. Even so, billions of taxpayer dollars that could be going to things that benefit us through healthcare or education funding, are simply being sent with no intention of getting anything in return. At the very least, America should buy the AstroZeneca vaccine to cut costs and waste less of taxpayers’ money at the same number of doses.
It is of better interest to capitalize on our trade relations if we’re going to make such a significant purchase. Offering vaccinations at a cheaper price or in return for goods from foreign countries would be much more beneficial as both parties involved will receive some kind of benefit. Tax dollars in my opinion wouldn’t be wasted, rather exchanged for a good cause. It’s the government’s responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the people, but was this really the best thing we could have done with over 9 billion taxpayer funds?