US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that US will rapidly deploy additional support to India and the US is working closely with the Indian government. The statement from US Secretary comes as Biden administration is under intense pressure from various quarters, including lawmakers and eminent Indian-Americans, to ship AstraZeneca and other COVID-19 vaccines along with several life-saving medical supplies to India.
“Our hearts go out to Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID outbreak. We’re working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we’ll rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s healthcare heroes," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, ANI reported.
Several US lawmakers have expressed concern over the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in India and have urged the Biden administration to provide all necessary help to the country. Congressman Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi called for the Biden administration to release millions of AstraZeneca Vaccines to hardest hit Covid vaccines, including India.
In a statement, Raja Krishnamoorthi said the US is currently sitting on close to 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the US is not using and which are open to combat in Mexico and Canada. He also requested to immediately release these vaccines to the hardest-hit countries including India.
“When people in India and elsewhere desperately need help, we can’t let vaccines sit in a warehouse, we need to get them where they’ll save lives,” he said in a tweet.
We need to release our stockpile of unused AstraZeneca vaccines now. In India alone, almost 350,000 COVID-19 cases were reported today. When people in India and elsewhere desperately need help, we can’t let vaccines sit in a warehouse, we need to get them where they’ll save lives pic.twitter.com/D3Ygtc8lzh— Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) April 24, 2021
Ro Khanna also shared Krishnamoorthi’s statement and said that they should take this up as the US-India Caucus.
“We have the resources to help, and other people need it; that makes it our moral obligation to do so,” Democratic Senator Edward Markey said in a tweet.
India is reporting the world’s highest ever single-day coronavirus cases, he added.
“Earth Day is about the health of the planet and everyone and everything on it. The US has more than enough vaccines for every American, but we are denying countries like India desperately needed support,” Markey said.
Michael Kugelman Deputy director, Asia Program said that US has a moral imperative to share its supplies with India. “India’s relationship with the US has taken off while its relationship with Russia has slowed. “But Delhi still describes its ties with Russia as “time tested. Doesn’t say that about ties with US,” Kugelman said in a tweet.
Yes, India’s relationship with the US has taken off while its relationship with Russia has slowed. But Delhi still describes its ties w/Russia as “time tested.” Doesn’t say that about ties w/US. Events of recent days bear that assessment out. Russia is helping India, US is not.— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) April 24, 2021
Eminent public health expert Ashish K Jha, said, “India is in the throes of a horrendous COVID surge. Horrendous. They are struggling to get more people vaccinated.”
“We are sitting on 35-40 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine Americans will never use. Can we please give or lend them to India? Like may be now? It"ll help. A lot,” Jha had said.
India is in the throes of a horrendous COVID surgeHorrendous
They are struggling to get more people vaccinated
We are sitting on 35-40 million doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine Americans will never use
Can we please give or lend them to India? Like may be now?
It’ll help. A lot
— Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) April 22, 2021
US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters that the United States continues to work closely with India to facilitate the movement of essential supplies and also address the bottlenecks of the supply chains.
The COVID-19 situation in India is a global concern, she said. We also continue to collaborate with our partners in India to battle this at the highest level. We know Secretary (of State, Tony) Blinken spoke to his counterpart on Tuesday and we remain deeply engaged with India at all levels as we work to combat this crisis of the pandemic together, Porter said.
The United States is deeply concerned by a massive surge in coronavirus cases in India and plans to quickly deploy additional support to the Indian government and health care workers, a White House spokeswoman said on Saturday.
“We are in active conversations at high levels and plan to quickly deploy additional support to the Government of India and Indian health care workers as they battle this latest severe outbreak. We will have more to share very soon," the spokeswoman told Reuters via email.