The U.S. will share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines with India and other nations, according to Biden government officials.
The move follows a Monday morning call between President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Our two nations have suffered greatly,” said a senior Biden government official during an afternoon briefing on the decision to send oxygen, drugs and supplies for vaccine production to India. “We remember India’s generosity towards us at the start of the pandemic.”
The announcement comes as roughly 1 in 3 cases of COVID-19 recorded daily is now in India. In April, the India outbreak saw a record number of cases of overwhelmed hospitals and oxygen supplies. Around 2,500 deaths are now reported there every day, which is generally considered to be a 5 to 10 times higher number.
National security officials in the Biden administration said India’s dire surge in cases and the ongoing pandemic elsewhere justified the release of the cans from the US gunfire. The supply of other vaccines is expected to make admissions available to every adult in the United States by June.
An AstraZeneca vaccine is approved in India but is pending FDA approval in the US. The company didn’t even officially apply for this permit. A security review of these recordings is carried out by the FDA before they are dispatched. Ten million cans are currently available and another 50 million are in production. The US previously loaned 4 million AstraZeneca recordings to Mexico and Canada.
“In short, this is good news, but long overdue,” said Lawrence Gostin of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. “What we are seeing, however, are two classes of vaccines – one for the developed world and one for the poor. AstraZeneca has not been approved in the US, so it can be donated. But the US is hoarding high-potency vaccines like I hope the US starts to donate doses of their entire vaccine inventory. It’s ethical, but it’s also in our best interests. “
Government officials said the US would consider sharing more vaccines as supplies to the country increase and the population is vaccinated.
Over the weekend, the European Union activated its medical aid program to provide oxygen and medical supplies to India, while Singapore and Saudi Arabia also sent oxygen. Russia has also announced that it will fly medical aid to India. The White House announced on Sunday that it would be sending fans and protective gear to India.
Peter Aldhous contributed to this story.