The United States will share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine with India and other countries, according to officials in the Biden administration.
The move follows an appeal launched Monday morning between President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Our two countries have suffered greatly,” said a senior administration official during an afternoon keynote on the decision to send oxygen, medicine and supplies to make vaccines in India. “We remember India’s generosity to us at the start of the pandemic.”
The announcement comes as about 1 in 3 cases of COVID-19 recorded daily is now in india. In April, the outbreak in India saw a record number of cases plaguing hospitals and oxygen supplies. Around 2,500 deaths per day are now reported there, which is widely considered to be undercount 5 to 10 times higher.
National security officials in the Biden administration have said the sharp rise in cases in India and the continuing pandemic elsewhere warrant the release of vaccine doses by the United States. Projected supplies of other vaccines are expected to make the vaccines available to all American adults by June.
An AstraZeneca vaccine is authorized in India but awaiting a green light from the FDA in the United States. The company has not even formally requested this authorization. A safety review of these images will be performed by the FDA prior to shipment. 10 million doses are currently available and an additional 50 million are in production. The United States had already loaned 4 million AstraZeneca images to Mexico and Canada.
“In short, this is good news, but it is long overdue,” said Lawrence Gostin of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. “What we are seeing, however, are two classes of vaccines – one for the developed countries and one for the poor. AstraZeneca has not been licensed in the United States, so it can be given. But the United States is stockpiling. very effective vaccines like mRNA. I hope the US will start giving doses of their entire vaccine stock. This is the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint, but it is also in our interest.
Administration officials have said the United States will consider sharing more vaccines as U.S. supplies increase and the U.S. population is vaccinated.
Over the weekend, the European Union activated its medical assistance program to provide India with oxygen and medical supplies, while Singapore and Saudi Arabia also sent oxygen. Russia has also announced that it will send medical assistance to India. The White House announced on Sunday that it was sending fans and protective equipment in India.
Peter Aldhous contributed to this article.