Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi on Tuesday (local time) called on US President Joe Biden’s administration to deploy AstraZeneca vaccines rapidly in India and other countries combating the COVID-19 surge.
“As we combat COVID surges in India and other nations with our stores of the AstraZeneca vaccine, I’ve joined with @RepMaloney, @WhipClyburn & @RepStephenLynch in requesting a briefing from the Biden Administration as part of our inquiry to ensure the vaccines are deployed rapidly,” tweeted Krishnamoorthi.
Lauding the efforts of Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Antony Blinken, Secretary of States, the Congressman wrote a letter to US Congress stating, “We appreciate your continuous effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the US. The Administration’s rapid success in protecting Americans now presents the opportunity to aid others facing deadly COVID-19 surges around the world. We commend the Administration’s decision on Monday, April 26, 2021, to deploy up to 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to the international community.”
He highlighted that countries such as India, Argentina, and Brazil are facing massive surges in infections. In India alone, more than one million new cases of COVID-19 were detected in just three days, he said.
“The Administration’s decision also makes sense, because the AstraZeneca vaccine cannot currently be used in America, as the company has not yet applied for Emergency Use Authorisation from Food and Drug Administration,” read the letter.
However, White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki stated on Monday that these shipments will not happen right away, and that no doses will be shared until the Food and Drug Administration has concluded its review, which may take several more weeks.
“Time is of essence. Without assistance from the US, new vaccine-resistant mutations could arise across the globe, threatening international public health and US’ national security and economic prosperity,” read Krishnamoorthi’s letter.
“To assist in our oversight of this matter, we request a staff briefing to address the following topics; process for selecting countries eligible to receive vaccine doses and the process to determine how many doses they will receive, including the agencies and individuals involved in those processes and their roles; timeline for shipping doses to other countries; whether us expects to have enough supply of vaccines from other manufacturers to moderate American public without the use of AstraZeneca vaccine, and; whether any legal or contractual barriers present obstacles to shipping doses abroad,” added the letter.
Appreciating the Biden administration move to assist nations fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter added, “We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to working together to ensure America remains a global leader in protecting international public health and safety by distributing excess surplus to those in dire need.”
Meanwhile, United States has vowed to celebrate its coming Independence Day on June 5 as COVID free country.
“We are committed to the Biden Administration’s ambitious goal to celebrate our independence from COVID-19 by Independence Day, and we are encouraged by the news last week that over 200 million vaccine doses were administered in the first 100 days of the Biden Presidency,” read the letter of Krishnamoorthi.