USA govt diverting its own vaccine-making materials supply to India

The logo for Astra Zeneca is seen outside its North America headquarters in Wilmington Delaware US on March 22 this year

The logo for Astra Zeneca is seen outside its North America headquarters in Wilmington Delaware US on March 22 this year

While the pharmaceutical company has reportedly failed to deliver millions of doses of its Covid vaccine to the European Union, its member countries still have hundreds of thousands of unused shots due to dwindling confidence in it, BBC reported.

"Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the United States already has, as I mentioned, and given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not approved for use in the usa, we do not need to use the AstraZeneca vaccine here during the next few months".

"Decisions to send US supply to other countries are made by the USA government", she said.

The U.S.is, however, looking at ways to bolster the production of vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, around the world in partnership with India, as per officials.

"We expect that there are approximately 10 million doses that could be released, if and when FDA gets gives its concurrence, which could happen in the coming weeks". The U.S. previously loaned 4.2 million AstraZeneca shots to Mexico and Canada, the only Covid-19 vaccine doses it has shared so far.

While the U.S. was ready to share its supply of AstraZeneca vaccines once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms they meet its standards, the official said that India has not asked for ready-to-use vaccines from the US.

Thus, the official added, the United States is planning to share those AstraZeneca vaccine shots "as they become available" once the FDA reviews their quality as part of its ongoing review of all doses made at the plant where they were produced. Another 50 million doses are still in production and could be ready to ship by May or June if they pass the inspections, according to the official.

"Therefore the United States is looking at options to share the AstraZeneca doses with other countries as they become available".

"We're in the planning process at this point", Psaki said. Just 5.3% of India's population has been fully vaccinated as of Monday compared with 36% in the U.S.

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Asked to respond to criticism that the US was late in responding to the crisis in India, Ms. Psaki pointed to the U.S.'s own challenge with the pandemic, the assistance the USA had offered to India over the weekend and US assistance globally.

Other public health experts agreed, stressing that India is reporting a record number of infections - more than 350,000 - every day.

"If the United States does not act quickly, new COVID-19 variants will continue to spill over into countries across the globe and into our backyard".

The US has also identified sources of rapid diagnostic testing supplies and protective equipment that will be made available to India.

Lawmakers in the USA have asked Presiden Joe Biden to support an initiative led by India and South Africa to waive Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organisation for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. "We also have the Department of Defense working on oxygen generation systems including larger scale as well as smaller-scale units", informed the official. A "strike team" is also being deployed to the U.S. Embassy in India, to work with Indian experts including, including in laboratory-related services.

"As part of the USA strategy to be ready for a range of scenarios, the United States has produced some AstraZeneca doses already".

"I think we can safely say that the issue of doses of vaccine, particularly the AZ vaccine, are certainly under active discussion".

The first 300,000 doses of the vaccine are due to arrive in Canada this week, with B.C.'s allocation expected to make its way to the province in early May.

She said there could be 10 million doses cleared for export "in coming weeks".

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