Washington: US President Joe Biden said that Washington is ‘doing a lot’ for India in terms of COVID-19 aid. Biden said that PM Narendra Modi told him that India needs raw materials for vaccine production, which are being sent by the US to India.
“We’re helping Brazil and India, significantly I spoke to Prime Minister Modi what he needs most is (raw) materials to be able to make the vaccines, we’re sending them that, we’re sending them oxygen, we’re doing a lot for India,” Biden said.
Biden said that his government has sent the AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada, Mexico and other countries. “I am not prepared to announce who else will be getting the vaccine, but we’re going to send 10 percent of what we’ve to other nations (including Brazil and India) by the 4th of July,” he further said.
“We’re helping India significantly,” he said.
Biden’s Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the US government was sending ingredients for making 20 million doses of AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine from supplies that it had ordered.
These ingredients had been ordered on a priority basis by invoking the Defense Production Act to supply to companies under contract to make vaccines for it.
The US is unlikely to need the 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that it had contracted because it has adequate supplies of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
She said that the total value of the COVID-19 aid will exceed $100 million.
Psaki said that six air shipments funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) with oxygen and oxygen supplies, N95 masks, rapid diagnostic tests, medicines and components requested by the Indian government have already been sent.
“At the request of the government of India, USAID provided these urgently needed supplies to the Indian Red Cross to ensure they reach those most in need as quickly as possible,” she said.
India is in dire need of oxygen and USAID sent about 1,500 oxygen cylinders that will remain in India and can repeatedly be refilled locally, 550 concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air and a large-scale unit to support up to 20 patients, she said.
She said that 2.5 million N95 masks have been sent and an additional 12.5 million are available if the Indian government asked for them, she said.
One million rapid diagnostic tests and 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug Remdesivir have also been sent, she said.