India is among beneficiaries receiving 25 million vaccines from US

James Marshall
June 5, 2021

White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Thursday that a total of one million J & J doses were being shipped straight to South Korea that very day. The administration says 25% will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the U.S.to share directly with allies and partners.

The other countries in Asia that will get a share of the 7 million vaccines through COVAX include Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives besides Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos and Taiwan. "We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values", Biden said. Just like in the United States, we will move as expeditiously as possible, while abiding by USA and host country regulatory and legal requirements, to facilitate the safe and secure transport of vaccines across worldwide borders. Today, the Administration announced its framework for sharing these 80 million US vaccine doses worldwide.

"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions", Biden said in a statement. "These are doses being donated free and clear to these countries for the sole objective of improving the public health situation", he said.

However, with new infections daily and an overwhelmed health infrastructure, India needs help to ramp up its vaccine production capabilities and we can and should help, she said.

Just ahead of Thursday's announcement, US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assuring him that India will benefit from the vaccine sharing plan.

Harris is set to meet with the leaders of Mexico and Guatemala next week on a trip through the region.

SII, the world's largest vaccine maker and a top supplier of COVID-19 shots to low- and middle-income countries, had criticized the use of the DPA, and Reuters reported in May that a shortage of USA -made raw materials would hit production of Novavax's vaccine. The U.S. has also announced plans to share enough shots with South Korea to vaccinate its 550,000 troops who serve alongside American service members on the peninsula.

Besides this, India is to get a share of the 6 million doses that will go to countries that have seen a surge in covid, Biden said.

The U.S. has committed more than $4 billion to COVAX, but with vaccine supplies short - and wealthy nations locking up majority - the greater need than funding has been immediate access to actual doses, to overcome what health officials have long decried as unequal access to the vaccines.

So without compromising their own domestic vaccination efforts, these countries can be part of the effort to accelerate global vaccine access by sharing the excess doses. "The world is looking to the USA for global leadership and more ambition is needed".

Expiration dates for vaccines are determined based on data the manufacturer submits to regulators proving how long the shots stay at the right strength, said former Food and Drug Administration vaccine chief Norman Baylor.

He said the first tranche is coming from the federal supply of doses and will be comprised of a combination of the three vaccines with current United States emergency use authorization: Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer/BioNTech.

On Tuesday, the drug regulator waived the requirement to conduct post-launch bridging trials for foreign-made coronavirus vaccines, in a move that is expected to bolster the availability of shots.

Biden earlier pledged to export 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world by the end of this month.

As part of its purchase agreements with the pharmaceutical companies, the federal government controlled the distribution of the vaccines. That's why today, I'm announcing that over the next six weeks we will send 80 million vaccine doses overseas.

AP writers Christopher Sherman in Mexico City, Gerald Imray in Cape Town, South Africa, and Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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