US announces 60m Covid-19 vaccine sharing with nations under duress

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After being at the receiving end of global rebuke for ‘not doing enough’ and taking lead in global fight against the coronavirus, United States of America has finally announced its decision of sharing Covid-19 vaccines with other countries.

US is set to share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s vaccine against Covid-19 with other nations in duress. White House announced the decision amid growing pressure internationally.

The decision came after US President Joe Biden talked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India currently is struggling with massive surge of second wave and shortage of medical oxygen and Covid-19 vaccines. Hospitals across India continue to run out of oxygen with many Delhi hospitals having raised SOS of depleting stock of oxygen for Covid-19 patients.

US President Joe Biden tweeted of pledging “America’s full support to provide emergency assistance and resources in the fight against Covid-19. India was there for us, and we will be there for them.” The US has pledged to supply oxygen systems, ventilators, testing kits, therapeutic drugs and personal protective equipment to India.

Read more : COVID goes out of control in India as countries promise rapid aid

US has vaccinated around 53% of its adult population with either of its three approved vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. By this rate and number of vaccines available, it is estimated that by this summer entire population would have vaccines.

This has fueled demands for US to send excess vaccines to countries in need. It is to be noted that US has excess AstraZeneca vaccines in stock which Americans would not be using considering AstraZeneca has not been approved for emergency use in the US due to safety concerns.

On Monday, White House announced that US would releasing AstraZeneca vaccines for other countries as the production permits. Andy Slavitt, the White House senior Covid-19 adviser tweeted, “US to release 60 million AstraZeneca doses to other countries as they become available.”

Sending vaccines to other countries is also a diplomatically inclined decision for US as China and Russia are aggressively donating for tackling the virus. It has raised concerns that they might be beating Washington at “vaccine diplomacy”.

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