U.S. to provide vaccine components, medical supplies as India battles COVID-19 spike
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said U.S. officials were "working around the clock" to deploy available resources and supplies to help India manufacture the Covishield vaccine and tend to the millions of Indians who are sick and dying. The United States will also send therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits and ventilators, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Washington was under mounting pressure to help India, the world's largest democracy, after Britain, France and Germany pledged aid over the weekend.
The United States was also pursuing options to provide India with oxygen generation and related supplies, Horne said.
The top U.S. infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told ABC News on Sunday such a move was "something that certainly is going to be actively considered."
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not yet approved in the United States, which has stockpiled millions of doses, and top U.S. health officials have said they have enough doses of approved versions by three other drugmakers to inoculate all Americans in coming weeks. The nation’s top business lobbying group has also pushed the administration to send AstraZeneca’s vials to countries grappling with rising cases.
The White House had no comment on the possibility of providing AstraZeneca doses to India.
Senior U.S. officials have expressed concern that new variants of the virus emerging in India could undermine progress made in the United States in fighting the pandemic.
The new wave of infections also threatens the economic recovery of India, the sixth-largest economy in the world.
In addition to the immediate aid, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation will fund a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for Indian vaccine maker Biological E Ltd, or BioE, enabling the company to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.