The United States on Tuesday said that the Joe Biden administration was ready to ship coronavirus vaccines to India after New Delhi worked through its legal processes of accepting the doses.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a media briefing that each country needed to complete its own set of operational, regulatory and legal processes before vaccines can be sent there. “Now, India has determined that it needs further time to review legal provisions related to accepting vaccine donations,” he said.
Price added that the Indian government can talk about the status of its discussions with COVAX, which was helping facilitate the delivery of vaccines. “But we are ready to ship those vaccines expeditiously when we have a green light from the Government of India,” he added.
In June, Biden had announced that the US would share 80 million, or 8 crore, Covid-19 vaccine doses with the rest of the world. Out of this, he had said that six million, or 60 lakh, shots would be shared with India, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and other countries.
In the last few weeks, the US has sent vaccines across the world, including to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan and Bangladesh, reported PTI. However, India could not get the vaccines as the government is yet to clear legal hurdles for the import.
At the briefing, Price said that the US and India were partnering to strengthen the global response to Covid-19 on different matters, from the outbreaks of infectious disease to boosting health systems to securing global supply chains.
“We are further working on diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines to combat the disease and to recognise the importance of manufacturing critical drugs during this time and to making them accessible globally,” he said. “And we’re able to do that because India’s pharmaceutical sector is strong, it’s well-established, it has played a central role in manufacturing vaccines for global use over some time.”
The spokesperson also noted that at the Quad leaders’ summit, the two countries had agreed on boosting the manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines to support a “safe and effective and eventually universal distribution of vaccines” around the world.
The statement came at a time when several states in India, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, have complained about shortages of vaccine doses that has hurt India’s Covid-19 immunisation drive.
Meanwhile, India registered 32,906 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours up to Tuesday morning, pushing the infection tally in the country to 3,09,07,282, since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The toll rose by 2,020 to 4,10,784.