US President Joe Biden promised emergency assistance to Covid-ravaged India in a telephone call Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two countries said.
Biden “pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases,” the White House said.
The United States “is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials and therapeutics,” Biden told Modi, according to a statement.
The United States announced emergency aid Sunday after rising criticism in India, an increasingly close partner of the United States, that Washington had a glut of vaccine doses and was not sharing, reports BSS.
Modi, according to an Indian statement, “conveyed his heartfelt appreciation for the offer of assistance.”
In one point not touched on by the White House, India said that Modi raised with Biden a call to ease intellectual property requirements on Covid vaccines.
Such a move would “ensure quick and affordable access to vaccines and medicines for developing countries,” the Indian statement said.
US to export up to 60 mn AstraZeneca vaccine doses
The United States will send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad, officials announced Monday, as President Joe Biden pledged to “be there” for India in its hour of need.
Critics have accused Washington of “hoarding” the British-developed vaccine, which is not authorized in the country and will likely not be required to vaccinate Americans.
The issue has risen to the fore in recent days as India faces a catastrophic new surge that has overwhelmed its health care system and driven crematoriums to full capacity.
“U.S. to release 60 million Astra Zeneca doses to other countries as they become available,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the White House on Covid response.
An administration official told reporters the first 10 million doses could be available “in the coming weeks” after they pass a quality inspection by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Further, there’s an estimated additional 50 million doses that are in various stages of production, and these could be completed in stages across May and June,” she added.