Former USAID chief tapped to lead vaccine diplomacy efforts

In his remarks, Blinken emphasized the need for American leadership and said the administration was exploring options to share more vaccine doses with other countries.

Blinken said that the U.S. had loaned vaccines to Canada and Mexico so far and hoped to work with global partners to make sure there is enough vaccine supply globally.

“We hear you,” Blinken said, assuring countries that the U.S. was “moving as fast as possible” and had no interest in trading shots for political favors.

“As we get more confident in our vaccine supply here at home, we are exploring options to share more with other countries going forward,” he said. “We believe that we’ll be in a position to do much more on this front. I know that many countries are asking for the United States to do more.”

Smith, chief executive of the ONE Campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, will be “on temporary assignment to the State Department,” the organization said in a release.

“If the virus is moving faster than we are, it’s winning,” Smith said after Blinken’s announcement. “But with unity of purpose, science, vigilance and leadership, we can outpace any virus.”