WASHINGTON: The United States will “immediately” make supplies of vaccine-production material, as well as therapeutics, tests, ventilators and protective equipment available to India as the South Asian giant faces a Covid-19 surge, the White House said Sunday.
Western nations including Britain, France and Germany have also pledged help as India’s coronavirus crisis grows, driving increases in global case numbers in recent days even as the number of vaccines administered globally surpasses the one billion mark. Worst-hit in the country of 1.3 billion people was the capital New Delhi, with reports of overwhelmed hospitals, severe oxygen and medicine shortages and patients’ families pleading for help on social media.
“The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” a White House statement said.
Washington has also “identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India,” the statement, from National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne, said. But it did not mention whether the US would send millions of surplus AstraZeneca vaccine doses to India, after top US pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci said Sunday that would be considered. The United States has around 30 million doses of the low-cost AstraZeneca vaccine that are not approved for use in the country, and Fauci told ABC’s “This Week” news program the idea of sending them to India will be “something that is up for active consideration.”