Appreciate Assurance of Vaccine Supply: PM After Call From US VP
Initial estimates indicate that India will receive 2-3 million vaccine doses in the first phase of the initiative.
United States Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday, 3 June, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the US’ latest vaccine sharing strategy and outlined a plan to make vaccines against COVID-19 available to other countries, including India, the PMO said in a statement.
The distribution of the vaccine will be in two modes – the COVAX initiative and direct distribution to neighbours and partner countries, Indian Ambassador to the US TS Sandhu told ANI.
India will receive vaccines as part of both these initiatives.
Initial estimates indicated that India will receive 2-3 million vaccine doses in the first phase, as per a report by The Indian Express.
Following the call, PM Modi took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the US’ assurance of vaccine supplies.
Further, PM Modi wrote that Harris and he "also discussed the ongoing efforts to further strengthen the India-US vaccine cooperation and the potential of our partnership to contribute to post-COVID global health and economic recovery."
Thursday’s development came as US President Joe Biden announced that the US will be sending vaccine doses to India, as well as other countries, including Canada, Mexico and Republic of Korea.
Bloomberg quoted the White House as saying that the US will distribute seven million shots to Asia including “hard-hit India”.
A fact sheet released by the White House on Thursday, 3 May, stated that the US will be sharing nearly 19 million COVID-19 vaccines through the UN-run global COVAX programme.
Approximately 7 million for Asia to the following countries and entities: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands.White House
In addition, the fact sheet indicated that approximately 6 million doses will be targeted towards regional priorities and partner recipients, which includes India. The other countries that come under this category are Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, India, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as the United Nations frontline workers.
India has been ravaged by two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a mounting death toll and many parts of the country reporting an acute paucity of COVID-19 vaccines.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PHONE CALL WITH HARRIS?
In her phone call with PM Modi, Harris reportedly underscored the India-US Partnership. The call was made at her request, ANI reported, quoting sources.
According to the statement from PMO, the two leaders also discussed ongoing efforts to strengthen the health supply chain between US and India, including in the area of vaccine manufacturing.
Additionally, they highlighted the potential of the India-US partnership as well as the Quad vaccine initiative in addressing the long-term health impact of the pandemic.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the hope to welcome US Vice President Harris in India soon after the normalisation of the global health situation,” the statement also read.
"Vice-President Harris called Prime Minister Modi, it was a positive and warm conversation. PM Modi thanked VP Harris for assurance of vaccine supply to India. The PM also appreciated the support and solidarity from the US government," Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu told ANI.
The diplomat indicated that Modi and Harris also talked about efforts to strengthen the India-US partnership in vaccines and areas of global health and economic recovery, and discussed QUAD initiatives. The Indian Prime Minister invited Vice-President Harris to visit India after the improvement of the global health situation.
Harris also made phone calls to President Andres Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, and PM Keith Rowley, Chairman of the Caribbean Community, reported ANI, citing her Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders.
In the calls, VP Harris informed each of the leaders that the US will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of COVID vaccines to their respective countries, as part of US Administration’s framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June, Sanders added, according to ANI.
WHAT ABOUT BIDEN’S VACCINE SHARING ANNOUNCEMENT?
Announcing his COVID-19 vaccine sharing plan, Biden said that the US will share 80 million doses of their vaccine supply with the world. Further, he said that the first tranche will reportedly be of 25 million doses.
Biden plans to allocate 75% of unused COVID-19 vaccines through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program.
The White House on Thursday was quoted by Bloomberg as stating that the US plans to distribute:
- Six million shots to Central and South America
- Seven million shots to Asia including “hard-hit India”
- Five million shots to Africa
Further, as per Bloomberg, US will directly send another six million shots to countries experiences surges, including Mexico, Canada, South Korea and the Palestinian territories.
WHAT DID BIDEN SAY?
US President Biden, further in a statement, said:
“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable.”
He also said that “the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”
According to AP, "the long-awaited vaccine sharing plan" comes as demand for shots in the US has dropped significantly after more than 63 percent of adults in US have received at least one shot.
Biden has also stated that American vaccines will not used as "a diplomatic tool."
(With inputs from Bloomberg, AP and ANI)
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