India-US caucus to discuss with US govt officials to send AstraZeneca vaccine doses

·2-min read
Ro Khanna
Ro Khanna

Washington [US], April 25 (ANI): The US-India caucus leadership will urge the Indian Ambassador to the United States and government officials to send doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses and other immediate aid to India, said Ro Khanna, the Indian American member of the US House of Representatives on Sunday.

"The US India caucus leadership will be discussing with government officials & Indian Ambassador on a bipartisan basis to send AZ vaccines we will never use, PPE, oxygen and other immediate aid. Time is of the essence to mobilise," wrote the Indian American Congressman on Twitter.

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi on Saturday evening called on the Biden Administration to release its supply of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to countries experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections.

Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said in a statement that the US needs to send the doses of the vaccine -- that it is not using -- to other countries that are experiencing an intense surge in COVID-19.

"We are currently sitting on close to 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the US stockpile, a stockpile which we're not using and which we've already opened to combat COVID-19 in Mexico and Canada," Kirshnamoorthi said.

"I respectfully but strongly call on the Biden administration to release millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses to countries hardest hit by the spread of COVID-19, including India, Argentina, and potentially others."

This comes as the US faces pressure to give away excess vaccines to countries that are lagging in their vaccination efforts. Public health experts warn that the coronavirus will not be contained until the globe is fully inoculated.

India recorded 3,49,691 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. According to the union health ministry, the country recorded 2,767 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

As India announced a grim record -- the highest daily coronavirus infection tallies in a single country, several US lawmakers have voiced their concerns and have heaped pressure on the Biden administration to extend assistance, release vaccines and other raw materials critical for India.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday had said that the US is working closely with its partners in the Indian government to deploy more supplies and additional support amid the spike in COVID-19 infections in the country.

Several other countries including Iran, Russia, Australia, Bhutan, and the EU have extended support to India. (ANI)