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Why US is not sharing the extra vaccine doses with India?

The worst was yet to come as warned by WHO back in 2020 and until February 2021, no one bothered to care or even listen to the predictions which turned out to be true in Maharashtra from March when the covid-19 cases reached the apex and Indians realized the second wave had occurred.

Most populated states of India were running out of oxygen, ventilator support, and other required medicines like Remdivisir, and not so long ago India was the only country sending bulk orders of vaccines to other countries at a very cheap price compared to its competitor countries, even free to several nations. Which later turned out to be a not-so-good idea as India is running short of vaccines now and even after being the biggest producer of vaccines, the government is buying Sputnik-V from Russia for as high as 999 rupees per dose.

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Initially, the majority of states denied the idea of lockdown, even after receiving a strong suggestion from the Supreme Court, densely populated and vulnerable states like Uttar Pradesh denied imposing lockdown back then. If we see now, the majority of states are under lockdown including Uttar Pradesh where lockdown is extended for the third time in May 2021.

While the situation appears to be finally changing its direction towards betterment, the ground reality is yet to show real improvement. Daily death is still stuck at about 4,000 even when we’re seeing a decline in the national Covid-19 positivity count per day.

This is getting worse in the southern part of India, Karnataka has surpassed Maharashtra in becoming the state with the most Covid-19 cases per day in mid-May 2021.

Lack of support from the U.S. to the rest of the world, especially to their ally country India.

As of now, in the U.S. there are more than 27 million yet to be used Moderna Inc. doses and about 35 million from Pfizer Inc. as well as BioNTech SE as per the data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is leading to a question by the prominent public health voices to pack America’s surplus of vaccine doses in dry ice containers and transport it to other countries in need like India, where the Covid-19 is on the surge.

Recently Priyanka Chopra, a well-known celebrity all over India and a known face in Hollywood, was also seen tweeting about the lack of support from the U.S. to India when several countries forwarded their support to the Indian government by sending ventilators, oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, plants for oxygen generation, medicines and other required items that are in deficit right now. She wrote ‘my country is bleeding’ and mentioned the U.S. where she mentioned the surplus vaccines stored by the U.S. which might not be of any use to them. She also urged her fans to donate to her homeland India.

Should the U.S. do this, will it benefit the nation?

The question arises that U.S. continues to store extra vaccines when they have already released information for a huge group of people to stop wearing a mask and start living their “pre-Covid-19 ERA”, the newly formed government has imposed a ban on the export of raw material required for vaccines manufacturing to which Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted and asked to lift the ban so that the vaccine development in India can continue at mass level, the U.S. didn’t respond to this. 

A post went viral that stated, “U.S. is the hardest-hit country from Covid-19 and it is in the best interest for the rest of the world if things get better in the U.S.” and all these recent events led to the image of the U.S. becoming negative to the rest of the nations and seeing this the country released few statements where one of the statement states to help India in this crisis however any major relief is yet to be delivered by the U.S. to India where other smaller countries have already provided massive support.

The biggest competitor of America, China, while on other hand is developing its positive influence in the rest of the world by exporting more doses than any other country, lifting its international profile. 

How difficult it would be to transfer vaccines if we look at ground reality?

It would be incorrect to jump to a conclusion and judgment of the country not being helpful enough to India and other hard-hit countries. 

It isn’t that easy to just pack the extra doses and ship to different continents. 

There is no single stockpile of millions of vaccines in one warehouse, most of the unused stock is scattered across thousands or even tens of thousands of locations that include pharmacies, medical hubs, individual state reserves, temporary vaccination sites, and more. Even if they begin to collect the vaccines from the locations, it might take so long that the surge in countries like India might already start to decline but the U.S. would still not be able to collect the scattered doses.

Pfizer has already begun sending vaccines overseas while Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Plc are also prepared to do so, right now the date isn’t out.

Andy Slavitt, the senior adviser to the White House’s Covid Response Team stated that “When you’re winning, you press harder,” where he meant the Biden-led administration is all set to vaccinate about 70% of their total adult population by the first week of July 2021.

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