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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America first. That's the message being sent by the White House when it comes to vaccines.

Why it matters: Billions of people around the world are waiting impatiently for access to a COVID-19 vaccine. But 30 million doses of vaccine are sitting in Ohio, gathering dust, and press secretary Jen Psaki says she wants an extra 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine just in case.

What they're saying: The president "wants to be overprepared and oversupplied," said Psaki on Thursday. While the U.S. is happy to donate money toward providing vaccines for the rest of the world, so far it's not happy donating vaccine that it can't currently use, like the doses of the Astra-Zeneca shot.

Between the lines: For the most part, it’s every country for itself, with poorer countries, including Brazil, generally much further back in the queue.

  • "We see many examples of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding in wealthier countries," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a statement on Thursday.
  • "The global vaccination campaign represents the greatest moral test of our times."

The bottom line: COVID-19 is a global pandemic that respects no national borders. But when it comes to access to the vaccine, the country you live in makes all the difference.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Health

The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

The Wuhan Institute of Virology. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

A group of high-profile scientists published a letter calling for renewed investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — including the theory that it spilled out of a virology lab.

Why it matters: The possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab and accidentally escaped — rather than emerging naturally from an animal — was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. But the letter shows a potential lab leak is increasingly being taken seriously.