WASHINGTON: The United States still expects to send COVID-19 vaccines to India and other countries amid ongoing discussions over how soon doses could be shipped out even as it sends therapeutics and other equipment to India amid a surge in cases there, United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday (April 27). "I have discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when we will be able to send actual vaccines to India which will be my intention to do. We are sending immediately a whole series of help that it needs including providing Remdesivir and other drugs that can deal with disease and help recovery," President Biden said.
"I think we'll be in a position to be able to share, share vaccines as well as know how with other countries who are in real need. That's the hope and expectation," he told reporters after remarks on coronavirus at the White House.
Telephonic conversation between PM Modi, Joe Biden
On April 26, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden held a telephonic conversation during which they discussed India's COVID-19 situation and efficient supply of raw material required for vaccine manufacturing from the US. The Biden administration swung into action to provide assistance to India in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic during the conversation. The urgent help announced by the White House ranged from oxygen supplies, raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, critical life-saving drugs to PPEs. "India was there for us, and we will be there for them," Biden said in a tweet soon after his phone call with Modi.
This was the second telephonic conversation between the two leaders after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20. The call between the two leaders is believed to have lasted for about 45 minutes. During the call, Biden is understood to have offered all help that India needs in this hour of crisis.
At India's request, the United States is exploring options to provide oxygen and related supplies. The Department of Defense and USAID are pursuing options to provide oxygen generation systems. "We may be in a position to reroute shipments plan further countries with lower immediate needs given the urgency of the conditions in India, and we'll have more details, hopefully, on the possibility soon," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
"The United States has already provided 200 ventilators to India last year and trained medical professionals on their use, so this is of course in addition to that and other assistance we have provided," Psaki said.
"Another one of the major needs is PPE, and we have identified US commercial suppliers as well. We have identified US commercial suppliers of remdesivir that are immediately available to help relieve the suffering of COVID-19 patients in India," she said.
India submitted list of 7 essential items: White House Press Secretary
India has submitted a list of seven essential items that it needs on an urgent basis. These are oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders with 10 litre and 45 litre capacity, oxygen generators, oxygen generation plants, remdesivir, faviprivir, and tocilizumab.
Psaki said the US has identified rapid diagnostic testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and additional ventilators available to be transferred to India immediately. The US is in close touch with India officials at all levels about the raw material needs that they have, she added.
(With PTI inputs)