From vaccines to PPE, US pledges to help Covid after violent reaction

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WASHINGTON: The United States said on Sunday it was rushing into therapies, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) to help treat patients with Covid-19 and protect frontline health workers in India after fierce criticism of its lukewarm response to the terrible pandemic crisis unfolding in the country.
The United States is also “seeking options to urgently deliver oxygen production and related supplies,” the White House National Security Council said in a statement.
The United States will send raw materials for vaccines and step up financial assistance for the production of Covid-19 vaccines, joining European countries to help stem the world’s largest increase in cases.
The equipment necessary for the production of Covishield has been obtained and “will be immediately made available for India,” Emily Horne, spokeswoman for US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, said in a statement.
The announcements arrived more than 12 hours after two top Biden administration officials – Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken – have vowed Washington will deploy additional support and supplies to help India meet the growing challenge of Covid-19 which some experts say could shut the world off.
“Our hearts are with the Indian people in the midst of the appalling Covid-19 epidemic. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government and will quickly deploy additional support to the Indian people and health heroes in India, ”Blinken tweeted on Saturday evening after Washington, particularly the Biden-Harris dispensation, had been trolled and torn. on social media for his lukewarm response to India’s plight, highlighted in graphic stories and US media visuals. “The United States is deeply concerned about the severe outbreak of COVID in India. We are working tirelessly to deploy more supplies and support to our friends and partners in India as they courageously fight this pandemic. More very soon, ”Sullivan continued in a tweet a few minutes later.
In a statement released Sunday morning, the White House said, Sullivan spoke by phone with his counterpart Ajit Doval and affirmed America’s solidarity with India – “the two countries with the highest number of cases. of Covid in the world ”.
“Building on the seven-decade health partnership between the United States and India – including the battles against smallpox, polio and HIV – they decided that India and the United States would continue to fight together against the global Covid-19 pandemic. Just as India sent aid to the United States when our hospitals were under stress at the start of the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India when needed, ”the statement said.
The NSC statement says the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is also funding a substantial expansion of the manufacturing capacity of BioE, the vaccine maker in India, allowing it to produce at least one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines per the end of 2022.

In addition, the United States is deploying an expert team of public health advisers from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID to work closely with the United States Embassy, ​​health departments. of India and the staff of the Indian Epidemic Intelligence Service. USAID will also work quickly with CDC to support and accelerate the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund, he added.
“We spoke today with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval about the surge in Covid cases in India and have agreed to stay in close contact over the next few days. The United States stands in solidarity with the Indian people and we are deploying more supplies and resources, ”Sullivan tweeted shortly before the detailed statement, before which the narrative of Americans offering simple words dominated social discourse, even in as dozens of activists and public figures. urged the administration to rush needed emergency aid, including its vaccine surplus.
“Send them those damn vaccines.” We, the taxpayers, paid for this research no Pfizer, et al. Release the patents and let others make the vaccines, ”read a message from a US citizen.

Democratic lawmakers have also joined the chorus. “We must free up our stock of AstraZeneca vaccines now. In India alone, nearly 350,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported today. When people in India and elsewhere are in desperate need of help, we can’t let vaccines sit in a warehouse, we have to get them where they will save lives, ”tweeted Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi .
Some experts had warned that Washington’s nonchalant response was causing it to lose hard-earned public support in India, as even China and Pakistan, not to mention Russia and the EU, stepped up to help New Delhi. Strong criticism has also been leveled at Vice President Kamala Harris, who has remained silent on the crisis in the country of her legacy – as has President Biden.

“I would like to hear our Indian Half Vice President of the United States, @VP @KamalaHarris, talk soon about the # COVID19 crisis in India and how we can help them. Hope she can speak soon, ”tweeted epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, who warns that unless New Delhi immunizes 10 million people a day, the death toll could exceed one million. here August. Pressure on the Biden administration to send its excess vaccine stock to India first and, more broadly, to calm down on intellectual property issues specific to the Covid vaccine, has come amid reports of ‘a drop in vaccination in the United States.

According to one account, about 5 million people, 8% of the American population, who received the first vaccine from the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, chose not to participate in the second vaccine, believing they were sufficiently protected. Some people fear side effects that would be more serious than the first time. Many vaccination centers are closing or reporting low participation rates.
Besides the United States, several other countries have reached out to India with aid and assistance to aid the country in its fight against the massive surge in coronavirus cases. The British government announced on Sunday that more than 600 units of vital medical equipment would be sent to India. Other promising countries for assistance are Israel, the EU, Germany, France and the UK, among others. Russia and Singapore have already sent aid.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a tweet on Sunday: “… Germany stands in solidarity with India and is urgently preparing a support mission.” “The EU and its Member States will do everything possible to support India at this difficult time,” said Ugo Astuto, European Union Ambassador to India and Bhutan.
Janez Lenarcic, the European Emergency Response Coordinator, informed on Sunday that the EU had activated its Civil Protection Mechanism to help India tackle the Covid crisis.
(With contributions from Indrani Bagchi and agencies)





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