India’s COVID crisis: US to redirect 20M doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, send raw material to make 5,00,000 doses
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India’s COVID crisis: US to redirect 20M doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, send raw material to make 5,00,000 doses


New Delhi: Amid the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis in India, the United States government will redirect from its own supplies 20 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. The timeline will be conveyed by Washington to New Delhi soon.
Washington will also be supplying from its own stock of millipore filters (36 Nos.), each of which will enable the manufacture of 5,00,000 doses of Covishield vaccines in India. Millipore filters are key in vaccine manufacture. Over the weekend, the US announced that it will be diverting raw material to India for manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines in the country. 
Earlier on Thursday, highlighting an “interdependent world, where we have given and taken”, Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said, “In anything you do, there is a supply chain, you produce pharmaceuticals, but someone provides you with some ingredients, you provide with finished products. The vaccine has to be seen in that context.”
The development comes days after the US said that it will make available 60 million doses of AstraZeneca covid vaccine to other countries within 2 months. The matter of vaccines also came up during talks between Indian PM Modi and US President Joe Biden on Monday.
“I have also discussed with him (PM Modi) when we will be able to send actual vaccines to India which will be my intention to do”, Joe Biden recently said.
The  United States has allowed 3 vaccines so far, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. And while AstraZeneca is being used in many parts of the world, it has not been authorized for use in the US yet. But despite no authorization yet, the country still has stockpiled the vaccine doses as part of its strategy to be ready for a range of scenarios. 
Meanwhile, three military aircraft from the US will bring COVID-19 assistance to India, the first two of which will be coming on Friday. The third plane will be coming on May 3. The consignee of assistance will be Indian Red Cross, as has been the case in other international assistance. 
India has received the list of items in the first flight that will be landing tomorrow at 7 am at Delhi airport. The crew won’t be needing any visas on arrival since the aircraft will fly back immediately after offloading items.
All in all, the US will be supplying India with 1,100 Oxygen cylinders, 1700 Oxygen concentrators, 17 Oxygen generator units, 15 million N95 masks, 1 million rapid diagnostic tests, 20,000 doses of Remdesivir which will be sent early next week. 
A White House fact sheet said, “Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need.”
The total worth of US supplies will be more than $100 million, and other than this US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts will work hand-in-hand with India’s experts in areas like surveillance, infection prevention, and control, vaccine rollout.


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