Indians are yet to get even a single vaccine from the United States because New Delhi has not worked out modalities of accepting vaccine donations from other countries, a State Department spokesperson told indica News.
Much of America was horrified at the tragedy the second wave of the coronavirus heaped on India. To make vaccines available to Indians back home, the Indian-American community leaders, civil rights activists, doctors, academic wrote letters to President Joe Biden.
Even Vice President Kamala Harris concerned by the rising death and Covid cases in India, called Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi to confirm that the US was sending vaccines. Reverend Jesse Jackson got involved, too.
Months later, not much has moved. Indian-American community leaders are silent. since all vaccines are on hold. The spokesperson in the Indian Embassy in Washington DC said, “They have no comments on the issue.”
Meaning, they have not even been sent to India yet.
Asked about the reason for the delay, State Department spokesperson Aaron Testa, told indica News: “In the case of India: the delay is not from the US side. India has determined that it needs further time to review legal provisions related to accepting vaccine donations.
“As President Biden announced earlier this year, the United States will share 80 million doses from our own vaccine supply with countries around the world,” the spokesperson continued.
“As part of that, before we can ship doses, each country must complete its own domestic set of operational, regulatory, and legal processes that are specific to each country.
“Once India works through its legal process, our donation of vaccines to India will proceed expeditiously,”the spokesperson said. “We refer you to the Government of India for specifics on the status of its discussions with COVAX, who is helping to facilitate.”
COVAX, under the World Health Organization, was created to ensure the ability to pay did not become a barrier to protection during this pandemic, by making Covid-19 vaccines available to people in least-resourced countries, ones that would otherwise have little or no access to them.
According to a June 4 report in The Hindu, the number of vaccines the US would send to India would not be substantial.
“While the [Indian] government said the U.S.’s decision on vaccine ingredients was a big relief, officials questioned whether the U.S. government’s other big announcement of plans to gift 25 million doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines would have a major impact, as it is not expected to be a substantial number,” the report said.