Clint Hermes Provides Insight on U.S. Role in WHO and Flu Vaccine Development

June 15, 2020
Bloomberg Law

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Clint Hermes was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article examining the United States’ role in the World Health Organization (WHO) and the selection of next year’s flu vaccine. Each year, the WHO determines which strains of flu to include in the upcoming year’s vaccine. If the United States follows through on the threat to terminate its involvement with and financial support of WHO, that will limit the country’s role in the flu vaccine selection. In a May 18 letter to WHO, President Trump requested “major substantive improvements” within the organization within the next 30 days or the United States would permanently freeze funding to WHO.

“If withdrawal simply means that the U.S. stops paying its dues, the WHO enforces its assessed financial obligations through its Constitution, which provides that the World Health Assembly can suspend the ‘voting privileges and services to which a Member is entitled,'” Clint said.

“If the U.S. actually withdrew from the treaty it entered into to join the WHO, which it can do after a one-year notice period, then that might have more significant consequences, depending on the terms of the specific contracts,” he said.

“The overall American influence on the WHO recommendation would likely diminish insofar as Americans would no longer be in decision-making roles,” Hermes explained.

The full article, “U.S. Role at Risk in Next Flu Vaccine With WHO Withdrawal,” was published by Bloomberg Law on June 12 and is available online.