April 27, 2021 12:35:54 pm
The United States plans to share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines with the world as they become available, US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy said in Washington.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely in use around the world but has not yet been authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration.
“US announces plan to share AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine doses with the world. Sixty million doses to be shared as they become available,” Murthy said in a tweet on Monday.
A similar tweet also came from Andy Slavitt, White House Senior Adviser, COVID Response.
Last month, the White House had shared roughly four million doses of the vaccine with Canada and Mexico.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki clarified that these doses would be available in the coming weeks. “Just to be clear right now we have zero doses available of AstraZeneca,” she told reporters at her daily news conference.
“We’re talking about what the FDA needs to go through a review to ensure the safety and it’s meeting our own bar and our own guidelines. And we expect there to be approximately 10 million doses that could be ready if or when the FDA gives its concurrence, which could happen in the coming weeks. So this is not immediate,” she explained.
There is an estimated additional 50 million doses that are in various stages of production. These could be completed in stages across May and June, Psaki said.
“But our team, our national security team, our COVID team, working with the State Department and others, we are going to assess a range of requests, a range of needs around the world, but that’s the timeline,” she added.
Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, in a statement, expressed the dire need for sharing these unused vaccines with India, Argentina, and other hard-hit countries as they experience massive and deadly surges of COVID-19.
“I’m very glad the White House listened to us – their reported plan to share unused AstraZeneca vaccines with countries in need, such as India, is a big move that will save lives provided we execute this plan quickly,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine does not currently have FDA authorization in the US and will not be used to save lives here in the near future, so it only makes sense to share our stockpile to curb this deadly virus with countries like India who have recorded over one million COVID-19 cases in the last three days alone,” he said.
Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera commended the Biden Administration for its decision to share the AstraZeneca vaccine with other nations.
“COVID-19 is a global virus that will require global cooperation, driven by American ingenuity and leadership,” he said.
A day earlier, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna had urged the White House to give India America’s stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines that won’t be used in the US.
“I applaud the administration for releasing these doses to ensure people throughout the world can be vaccinated,” Senator Bob Casey said.
Indian-American political advocacy group IMPACT has launched an online petition campaign urging the Biden Administration to send at least half of the US’ stockpile of approximately 60 million surplus vaccines to India.
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