Joe Biden made commitment to send vaccines to India, says US NSA

Washington, United StatesWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Jun 04, 2021, 06:26 PM IST

Jake Sullivan talks about Covax programme and giving coronavirus vaccines to India Photograph:(WION Web Team)

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The US will be sharing a total of 80 million doses by the end of June. This represents 13 per cent of the total vaccines produced by the US by the end of this month

The United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said that US President Joe Biden had made a "commitment" that Washington will give coronavirus vaccines to India. His comments come even as US on Thursday announced that India will get US Covid vaccines via Covax facility and directly as well in the first tranche of 25 million doses announced for the international community.

"The President made a commitment to ensure that India received doses and giving them, not just an allocation under the regional portion of this, through Covax, but an additional allocation from our discretionary portion was something that he wanted to do," Sullivan said.

India is the only country which gets the US vaccines both ways. The US will be sharing a total of 80 million doses by the end of June. This represents 13 per cent of the total vaccines produced by the US by the end of this month.

"Our approach prioritises South and Southeast Asia, including countries like India, Nepal, the Philippines, and others that are undergoing surges right now," NSA explained. He also highlighted that the "portion of those doses will go to India, which has, obviously, dealt with a surge, and we've seen the gripping images coming from that country."

In all, the US will give 25 million vaccines to more than 35 countries and three entities — West Bank and Gaza, Kosovo and Taiwan and United Nations frontline workers. The 25 million will be comprised of the three approved — EUA-approved authorised vaccines — some combination of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna.

Both India and the US are working to enhance vaccine production, especially under the Quad covid vaccine initiative. The first virtual Quad summit took place on March 12, in which leaders of the US, India, Japan and Australia had met and key outcome was the vaccine initiative under which India will be the production hub.

"Increased manufacturing capacity in India (volume of capacity)..has the potential to be a game changer well beyond India’s borders, and that’s precisely why (the) arrangement was reached and announced in the context of the Quad," Ned Price, US State Department spokesperson said.

Amid the pandemic, the US had reached out to India with assistance. The US sent 20,000 courses of Remdesivir, 1,500 oxygen cylinders, 550 mobile oxygen concentrators, one million rapid diagnostic tests, 2.5 million N95 masks, large-scale Deployable Oxygen Concentration System that can provide oxygen to treat 20 or more patients and 210 pulse oximeters.

The US had sent six planes to India to deal with the covid crisis in the month of May and according to USAID, US Government assistance to combat the current crisis is about $100 million.

Price pointed out that "virtually no element of Indian society has been left untouched by this horrible, horrible scourge" and "together between the US government contributions as well as private sector contributions, we have seen some half a billion dollars in support go to India in its time of need."