COVID-19: US to share 'substantial number' of vaccines with India under COVAX program

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Representative image

By Shalini Bhardwaj

Washington DC [US], June 4 (ANI): A 'substantial number' of vaccine doses will be sent to India under the US strategy for global vaccine sharing program, said Gayle E Smith, the US State Department Coordinator for COVID-19 Response and Health Security on Friday.

Answering a question about the actual number of doses that will be allocated to India, Smith said, "In terms of the actual number of doses, we have done some notional planning that the refinement of the actual dose number will be determined in consultations with the governments and their health experts; the state of their vaccine plans and delivery with COVAX."

"So we want to be careful about putting a number out there yet. Because we want to work all those pieces to make sure that we got those numbers right. But I think there will be a substantial number," Smith added during a telephonic briefing.

She further said that the US aims to increase global vaccine coverage and is also hopeful other countries will also start sharing vaccines.

"Our intention is to lead on global vaccine coverage. A lot of work has to be done to actually deliver the vaccines. When other countries also share vaccines, then, we can get in a position to actually end this global pandemic," Smith added.

Furthermore, she said the US will not do commercial deals but only donations.

On Thursday, the US had announced that it will allocate the first tranche of 25 million COVID-19 vaccines globally to address potential surges and the needs of the most vulnerable countries affected by the pandemic, including India.

Sharing the framework for the distribution of 80 million vaccines, the White House press statement said that 75 per cent of vaccine share will be given through COVAX while 25 per cent share for immediate needs and to help with surges around the world.

Based on this framework, the United States plans to send our first tranche of 25 million doses. Nearly 19 million will be shared through the COVAX initiative.

As many as 7 million vaccines will be shared with Asian countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.

Approximately 6 million will be given to South and Central America. Nearly 5 million doses will be given to Africa. As many as 6 million will be targeted toward regional priorities and partner recipients, including Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea.

The White House statement said that the sharing of millions of US vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the US government. (ANI)