As India is in the midst of a massive Covid-19 outbreak, President Biden announced that the United States will be sending aid in the form of supplies to manufacture the vaccine, funding for vaccine manufacturers and medical equipment.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” Biden wrote in a tweet Sunday.
The move comes after pressure came from the international community to assist the country, which reported nearly 350,000 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday alone. Sunday also marked the fourth consecutive day India set a world record for daily infections, according to CNN.
National security spokesperson Emily Horne issued a statement detailing how the United States will help India in a readout of a call between the countries’ national security advisors, saying the White House is “working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies.” Specifically, the U.S. is providing raw materials to manufacture the Covishield vaccine and giving funding to expand India’s vaccine manufacturer’s ability to produce a billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022. Help is also coming in the form of public health advisors from the CDC and USAID, plus supplies, including test kits, medications, ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment for medical workers.
Officials on the National Security Council and Department of Health and Human Services have been meeting through the weekend, a source told CNN. White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC News, “Right now, even as we speak, there’s discussions about really ramping up what we can do on the ground — oxygen supplies, drugs, tests, PPE, as well as taking a look in the intermediate and long-run about how can get vaccines to these individuals.”
Although the United States has vaccinated nearly half its population with at least one vaccine dose, lower- and middle-income countries are vaccinating people at much slower rates. But to truly defeat the virus, every country needs access to the vaccine.