Brett Wilkins Economy Military Pandemic

The Pentagon Just Got $778 Billion, But USAID Is Running Out of Money for COVID-19 Vaccines?

Dollar bill showing George Washington wearing a surgical mask

By Brett Wilkins / Common Dreams

Sharply contrasting with the $778 billion in new military spending authorized Monday by President Joe Biden, the U.S. Agency for International Development reportedly can’t find the funds to pay for the Biden administration’s effort to help vaccinate the world’s population against COVID-19, according to two agency officials interviewed by Politico.

In an article published Monday by the website, a pair of unnamed sources at USAID—the main government agency in charge of distributing coronavirus vaccine doses to COVAX, the global vaccine equity program—are concerned that efforts could stall in the coming spring should the administration fail to find new funding sources.

According to Politico:

The agency, which works with officials in the State Department, has over the past year largely relied on more than $1.6 billion allocated through the American Rescue Plan to help facilitate the shipment and administration of Covid-19 vaccine doses internationally. The agency has either used that money or already earmarked it for several months into the new year to help countries prepare to receive and distribute the doses, the officials said.

Without additional funding, the officials said that USAID will fall behind in its commitments to help the Biden administration distribute hundreds of millions of U.S.-made doses to low- and middle-income countries by the middle of 2022. At the administration’s first COVID-19 summit with foreign representatives in September, U.S. officials noted it would take at least $7 billion in 2022 to ensure shots are administered across the globe.

Stephen Semler, co-founder of Security Policy Reform Institute, a grassroots-funded think tank, tweeted Monday that in 2021, Biden “delivered 8% of the funding he campaigned on for physical and human infrastructure, and 105% of the amount he ran on for the Pentagon.”

Critics have noted that the $778 National Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress is $25 billion more than Biden requested—and more than enough to vaccinate everyone in the world.

“Why is there more money for the military-industrial complex—providing no additional protection for our national security and arguably diminishing it—at the same time the U.S. is refusing to spend the $25 billion needed to make enough additional vaccines to vaccinate the world?” recently asked Public Citizen president Robert Weissman earlier this month, citing the consumer advocacy group’s analysis of how much it would take to inoculate humanity.

According to Politico, it is unclear how USAID—which, in addition to providing developmental assistance, has been accused of democracy suppressiontorture, and murder—will obtain fresh funding for the U.S. vaccine distribution efforts. The two officials said the agency is “exploring options, including dipping into existing pots of money used for other USAID programs.”

Global South leaders have regularly decried vaccine inequities, with some linking the shortfalls with ever-increasing military spending.

At September’s United Nations General Assembly, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez noted that 80% of doses had been distributed to middle- or high-income nations, comparing that statistic to the nearly $2 trillion in global military spending—more than one-third of it by the United States.

“How many lives would have been saved,” asked Díaz-Canel, “[if] those resources had been invested in health or the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines?”


  1. This is beyond disgusting. Biden is Commander in Chief of an organization that slaughters innocent people around the world with impunity because NO ONE is ever held responsible. Yet he is unable to scrape together enough to help out the neediest of the world and help protect the citizens of this nation in a real way for a deadly disease.

    What is wrong with this man?

  2. ” it is unclear how USAID—which, in addition to providing developmental assistance, has been accused of democracy suppression, torture, and murder—will obtain fresh funding for the U.S. vaccine distribution efforts. ”

    No kidding …

    Weird article – ostensibly in favor of giving aid for vaccine distribution to an agency “accused of democracy suppression, torture and murder” – Sounds like just the kind of agency we ought to give money to – good grief!

  3. Fancy that! Even with humanitarian icon Samantha Power in charge, the USA is unable to help???

  4. You might think this article (and too many like it) simply echoes the hackneyed criticism and obligatory outrage over there always being more than enough money for the Pentagon but next to nothing for social programs and people’s needs. As if this contrast, and the artificial scandal-mongering and calls for reform it perpetually generates, doesn’t simply reveal the enduring consistency of class rule, from which professional class critics keep turning people’s attention with this boilerplate.

    But if you know covid to be the coup it is and its final solution anything but vaccines, you’ll know the new war of bioterror is an extension of the medical-military industrial complex, and that it has been and will continue to be well-funded through deep state agencies (e.g., DARPA) which have researched and developed bioweaponized means for conquering and colonizing humans beyond conventional means of warfare. And that’s why humanitarian and philanthropic fronts of fascism like USAID and COVAX are helping oversee distribution of genetic engineering and biodigital fusion.

    Besides, why worry about budget plans when emergency powers provide carte blanche means for robbing the public for ‘public health’ so we can pay for our own demise? Once variants are no longer needed for stoking another emergency round of taxpayer dollars and debt bondage to subsidize the Pharmafia’s latest product lines, and permanent vaccination has become a way of life in the New (ab)Normal, then the national security state will be sure to include whatever is necessary in more bloated budgets. and cost overruns, for corporate feeding at the public trough.

    As for the Global South, not everyone there like bought and paid for leaders of the UN/WHO is clamoring for more of the poisons to which they’ve already in the past been experimentally subjected with disastrous consequences, especially in India and throughout Africa. And pharmaceutical companies are not about to go anywhere without complete immunity from legal liability, the only kind if immunity they care about, waiting on which may also help explain the lack of funds at this time.

  5. USAID=CIA…since american values are despised —the distinction between authority admired by Kojeve, Marx/Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Gadamer, Sennet, etc vs force or coercion–the only american option is to bully. this has been observed in all empires near their disintegration

  6. USAID is a CIA front. The sooner it runs out of money, the better. Things like vaccines shouldn’t be funneled through evil agencies like this.

    1. Exactly! USAID was created as a CIA cut-out. Distributing vaccines is a cover for all the nefarious actions that are its true mission. May it and its boss, Samantha Power, go down in flames.

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