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Covid-19: India to get a share of 80 mn US vaccine doses through COVAX

Covid-19: India to get a share of 80 mn US vaccine doses through COVAX

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Virendra Pandit 

New Delhi: Until March, India was exporting vaccines to nearly 70 countries under different categories as part of the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it will receive a share of the 80 million unused vaccine doses through the UN-based COVAX global vaccine-sharing program.

By announcing to share oversupplied American vaccines with “America First” policy in which the US was sitting on stockpiles of jabs, as pharmaceutical companies continued to manufacture but could not export vaccines without the government’s nod.

On June 2, President Biden announced that the US will allocate 75 percent–or 19 million of the first tranche of 25 million doses–of unused vaccines from its stockpile through the COVAX program to countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Africa. In all, America will share 80 million doses globally by June end.

“I don’t have the specific details on when the shipment of vaccines will be arriving in India. Of course, India will be in receipt of a share of those 80 million vaccines and through COVAX, I believe there were some six million vaccines destined for the region”, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday, media reported.

Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organisation.

“We know that India has suffered tremendously with this pandemic and as we have done in the case of these vaccines, but also as we did even prior to this vaccine sharing announcement. We have demonstrated our commitment to work closely with our partners in India to help see the way out of this epidemic”, he said.

In recent weeks, the US had flown seven planeloads of life-saving supplies worth approximately USD 100 million to India which was reeling under a devastating second wave of the pandemic in April and May.

Price said this vaccine supply will be in addition to $400 million the American private sector and the Indian-Americans had helped India with to make it recover from the pandemic. “The Biden administration is absolutely continuing with its commitment to help the government and the people of India emerge from this pandemic.”

So far, India had recorded over 29,089,069 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 353,528 deaths.

The Biden administration had been under pressure to send the excess vaccines with the US to nations like India, which faced severe shortages.

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