US President Joe Biden (file photo) Photograph:( Reuters )
In the letter, the four signatories mentioned how without assistance, new mutations that may evade vaccines could sprout up in India and then spill over to other countries in the world, including the United States
A group of US lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to quickly release the country’s supply of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to India and other countries where the pandemic is wreaking havoc. The Democrats stressed on the importance of time in a joint letter addressed to the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.
In the letter, the four signatories mentioned how without assistance, new mutations that may evade vaccines could sprout up in India and then spill over to other countries in the world, including the United States.
The signatories are Carolyn Maloney, chairperson of the House Oversight Committee; James Clyburn, chair of the House subcommittee on COVID-19; Raja Krishnamoorthi, Indian American chair of the House subcommittee on economic policy; and Stephen Lynch, chair of the House subcommittee on national security.
In addition to urging an expedited response to India’s crisis, the lawmakers have urged the Biden administration to reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to not waive intellectual property rights on vaccines.
India and South Africa had led the proposal in favour of temporarily waiving IPR on vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure all countries have access to vaccines.
Biden administration has approved sending supplies and vaccines to India, but there have been delays in shipping while the country awaits the approval of country’s food and drug regulator to send AstraZeneca vaccines to India.
On April 26, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said that the AZ doses will need quality clearance from the FDA before being shipped out to India and other countries. “This is being done in the context of the FDA’s ongoing review of all doses made at the plant where these AstraZeneca doses were produced”, she said.
(With inputs from agencies)