Explanation of Vote for the Ensuring Equitable, Affordable, Timely and Universal Access for all Countries to Vaccines in Response to the COVID-19

Nicholas Hill
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
New York, New York
November 18, 2021

Explanation of Vote for the Ensuring Equitable, Affordable, Timely and Universal Access for all Countries to Vaccines in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic Resolution


Thank you, chair. The Biden Administration is committed to ending the COVID-19 pandemic including through promoting equitable and increased access to vaccines, including through our $4 billion contribution to COVAX. The United States is working with COVAX and other partners to ensure safe and effective vaccines are delivered in a way that is equitable and follows the science and public health data. Advancing human rights and gender equality are at the forefront of effective COVID-19 recovery and response – we must address the needs and access to health services for those most disproportionately impacted, especially those belonging to multiple minority groups. This principle should be at the core of this resolution, and unfortunately is not.

The United States is disappointed that the text of this resolution does not reflect a negotiated, consensus outcome of this Committee. We were disappointed with how this resolution was handled procedurally, as the text that was tabled very late and there was not an inclusive negotiating process in order to take delegations’ input into account. While we made a good faith effort to negotiate on the language, our concerns were ignored. We also regret late-breaking edits that undo carefully crafted compromises, including on sanctions.

It is our view that the United Nations must respect the independent mandates of other processes and institutions, including trade negotiations, and must not involve itself in decisions, interpretations, and actions taking place in other forums, such as the World Trade Organization. The UN is not the appropriate venue for these discussions, and the United States does not consider recommendations made by the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council on these issues to be binding. This includes calls that undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology transfer that is not voluntary and on mutually agreed terms. Additionally, this resolution does not adequately capture all of the carefully negotiated and balanced language in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of 2001, and instead presents an unbalanced and incomplete picture of that language.

We regret that we must vote “abstain” on this resolution.

Thank you.