WASHINGTON – The U.S. on Monday announced plans to share as many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it receives federal approval, according to a White House administration official.
The announcement, first reported by the Associated Press, comes as the Biden administration has faced increased pressure to share its supply of vaccines as other countries such as India grapple with a spike in cases. India reported nearly 353,000 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, setting a new world record for the fifth straight day.
The U.S. announced Sunday it would send raw materials to make vaccines, rapid diagnostic testing kits and other medical equipment to India that was previously subject to an export ban. The administration is also looking at options to provide oxygen generation “on an urgent basis” and funding to boost India’s domestic production of vaccines.
“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,” NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement.
The apparent U-turn came a day after National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said he spoke to his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, as the number of coronavirus cases continue to climb. White House COVID-19 supply coordinator Tim Manning tweeted Monday the U.S. diverted pending orders of vaccines filters to India to help with its vaccine manufacturing effort and that it was one of several resources the U.S. is sending to assist.
The Biden administration last month “loaned” about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to receive emergency authorization approval from the Food and Drug Administration, with Mexico and Canada.
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