Vaccinate America first, Trump tells G20

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Lame duck U.S. President Donald Trump has a coronavirus plan: Vaccinate America first!

Trump told a G20 leaders’ telesummit hosted by Saudi Arabia on Saturday that he wants U.S. citizens to be the first to receive vaccinations against coronavirus — a position that is in keeping with his America First ideology but contradicts the position of public health experts and some other world leaders, who have urged giving priority to front-line health workers and vulnerable populations such as the elderly.

Trump’s intervention, described by diplomats and officials watching the videoconference, fit into a wider display of vaccine-nationalism by leaders participating in the summit, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and even U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson talking up the vaccines being developed and manufactured by their own countries.

Trump, who spoke on Saturday morning from Washington before heading out to play golf, claimed that two vaccines based on mRNA technology that received heavy publicity in recent weeks, made by Moderna and a partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer, were the work of U.S. companies. In fact, BioNTech is a German company, which retains ownership of the scientific technology that the vaccine is based upon.

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