U.S. President Joe Biden,on Tuesday, elaborated on his phone conversation with Prime Minister Modi on Monday to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak in India. He said that the U.S. was sending “a whole series of help” to India including remdesivir and vaccine inputs.
“With regard to India, I spoke at length with Modi, the Prime Minister. We are sending immediately a whole series of help that he needs, including providing for those — remdesivir and other drugs that are able to deal with this and prevent, in some cases, but recover — help recovery,” said Mr Biden, who was walking away from the lectern at the end of his remarks on COVID-19 on the North Lawn of the White House, but returned briefly specifically to answer questions on India.
“Secondly, we are sending the actual mechanical parts that are needed for the machinery they have to build a vaccine. And that’s being done as well,” Mr Biden said, adding that he told Mr Modi that the U.S. would be able to send actual vials (of vaccine) to India.
“I’ve discussed with him [ Mr Modi] when we’ll be able to send actual vaccines to India, which would be my intention to do.”
“ The problem is, right now, we have to make sure we have other vaccines, like Novavax and others, coming on, probably. And I think we’ll be in a position to be able to share — to share vaccines, as well as know-how, with other countries who are in real need. That’s the hope and expectation.” Mr Biden said.
The White House announced on Monday that it was making available some 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for use by other countries over the course of May and June.
“And I might add, when we were in a bind at the very beginning, India helped us,” Mr Biden said as he was leaving the venue.
Senate India Caucus Writes to Biden
Co-Chairs of the Senate India Caucus, Mark Warner (Democrat, Virginia) and John Cornyn (Republican, Texas) wrote to President Biden urging him to “accelerate U.S. efforts” to support countries like India that had been hard hit by COVID-19.
“As co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, we are watching with growing alarm the unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, which has overwhelmed hospitals and the overall health system in India,” the Senators write.
Finally, we congratulate you for taking specific actions to remove obstacles that would get in the way of sending excess vaccines to India,” they say, asking that similar domestic barriers be removed for sharing vaccines with other countries as well.
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