Assisting India in its battle against disastrous second wave of coronavirus, the United States has dispatched raw material for manufacturing of coronavirus vaccination for India in two heavy lift aircraft of the US Air Force. “Today we are proud to deliver our first shipment of critical oxygen equipment, therapeutics and raw material for vaccine production,” US secretary of state Antony Blinken said in a tweet.
Assuring support to India in “its time of need”, Blinken said India was there to help the US in its early days of the pandemic. “The US is committed to working urgently to provide assistance to India in its time of need,” he wrote.
Earlier, the US Secretary of Defense LIoyd J Austin had tweeted that two heavy lift aircraft of the US Air Force had taken off with aid for India. "Right now, a US air force C-5M Super Galaxy and a C-17 Globemaster III are en-route to India from Travis Airforce Base. They're carrying oxygen cylinder/regulators, raid diagnostic kits, N95 masks, and pulse oximeters. Thanks to the USAID for the supplies and to all involved in the effort,” Austin tweeted.
The second wave of coronavirus has ravaged the country with daily counts zooming past the global records. For almost a week now, India has been reporting over 3 lakh daily coronavirus cases, along with record number of deaths, putting the healthcare infrastructure under immense pressure. To ramp up the mitigation efforts, the Indian Vaccine manufacturers had requested the United States to lift the embargo on export of raw material for the production of coronavirus vaccine.
On April 16, Adar Poonawalla of the Serum Institute of India, had urged President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on the export of raw material. The US state department had initially denied the request saying that their first obligation was to take care of the American people.
On April 25, the National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval spoke to his US counterpart Jake Sullivan after which the US agreed to send the raw material and assist India in the hour of need.
The statement issued by the White House post the telephonic conversation said that Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need.
“To this end, the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies. The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” the statement read.